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GEORGIC I. 1-15 

What makes the cornfield smile ; beneath what star 
Maecenas, it is meet to turn the sod 
Or marry elm with vine ; how tend the steer ; 
What pains for cattle-keeping, or what proof 
Of patient trial serves for thrifty bees ; — 

EkRATUM.—Page 5, line 19, for hast read has. 

And mingled with the grape, your new-found gift, 
The draughts of Achelous ; and ye Fauns 
To rustics ever kind, come foot it, Fauns 
And Dryad-maids together ; your gifts I sing. 
And thou, for whose delight the war-horse first 
Sprang from earth's womb at thy great trident's strokdf 
Neptune ; and haunter of the groves, for whom 
Three hundred snow-white heifers browse the brakes. 

GEORGIC I. 16-33 

The fertile brakes of Ceos ; and clothed in power, 
Thy native forest and Lycean lawns, 
Pan, shepherd-god, forsaking, as the love 
Of thine own Maenalus constrains thee, hear 
And help, O lord of Tegea ! And thou, too, 
Minerva, from whose hand the olive sprung ; 
And boy-discoverer of the curved plough ; 
And, bearing a young cypress root-uptorn, 
Silvanus, and Gods all and Goddesses, 
Who make the fields your care, both ye who nurse 
The tender unsown increase, and from heaven 
Shed on man's sowing the riches of your rain : 
And thou, even thou, of whom we know not yet 
What mansion of the skies shall hol4 thee soon. 
Whether to watch o'er cities be thy will. 
Great Caesar, and to take the earth in charge, 
That so the mighty world may welcome thee 
Lord of her increase, master of her times. 
Binding thy mother's myrtle round thy brow. 
Or as the boundless ocean's God thou come. 
Sole dread of seamen, till far Thule bow 
Before thee, and Tethys win thee to her son 
With all her waves for dower ; or as a star 
Lend thy fresh beams our lagging months to cheer. 
Where 'twixt the Maid and those pursuing Claws 

34-52 GEORGIC I. 

A space is opening ; see ! red Scorpio's self 
His arms draws in, yea, and hath left thee more 
Than thy full meed of heaven : be what thou wilt — 
For neither Tartarus hopes to call thee king, 
Nor may so dire a lust of sovereignty 
E'er light upon thee, howso' Greece admire 
Elysium's fields, and Proserpine not heed 
Her mother's voice entreating to return — 
Vouchsafe a prosperous voyage, and smile on this 
My bold endeavour, and pitying, even as I, 
These poor way-wildered swains, at once begin, 
Grow timely 'customed to the voice of prayer. 

In early spring-tide, when the icy drip 
Melts from the mountains hoar, and Zephyr's breath 
Unbinds the crumbling clod, e'en then 'tis time ; 
Press deep your plough behind the groaning ox. 
And teach the furrow-burnished share to shine. 
That land the craving farmer's prayer fulfils, 
Which twice the sunshine, twice the frost hast felt ; 
Ay, that's the land whose boundless harvest-crops 

Burst, see ! the barns. 

But ere our metal cleave 
An unknown surface, heed we to forelearn 
The winds and varying temper of the sky, 
The lineal tilth and habits' of tH6 spot. 

GEORGIC I. 53-73 

What every region yields, and what denies. 

Here blithelier springs the corn, and here the grape, 

There earth is green with tender growth of trees 

And grass unbidden. See how from Tmolus comes 

The saffron's fragrance, ivory from Ind, 

From Saba*s weakling sons their frankincense, 

Iron from the naked Chalybs, castor rank 

From Pontus, from Epirus the prize-palms 

O* the mares of Elis. 

Such the eternal bond 
And such the laws by Nature's hand imposed 
On clime and clime, e*er since the primal dawn 
When old Deucalion on the unpeopled earth 
Cast stonesi whence men, a flinty race, were reared. 
Up then ! if fat the soil, let sturdy bulls 
Upturn it from the years first opening months. 
And let the clods lie bare till baked to dust 
By the ripe suns of summer ; but if the earth 
Less fruitful be, just ere Arturus rise 
With shallower trench uptilt it — 'twill suffice ; 
There, lest weeds choke the crop's luxuriance, here. 
Lest the scant moisture fail the barren sand. 

So shalt thou suffer in alternate years 
The new-reaped fields to rest, and on the plain 
A crust of sloth to harden ; or, when stars 

73-94 GEORGIC I. 

Are changed in heaven, there sow the golden grain 

Where erst, luxuriant with its quivering pod. 

Pulse, or the slender vetch-crop, thou hast cleared, 

And lupin sour, whose brittle stalks arise 

A hurtling forest. For the plain is parched 

By flax-crop, parched by oats, by poppies parched 

In Lethe-slumber drenched. Nathless by change 

The travailing earth is lightened, but stint not 

With refuse rich to soak the thirsty soil, 

And shower foul ashes o'er the exhausted fields. 

Thus by rotation like repose is gained. 

Nor earth meanwhile uneared and thankless left. 

Oft, too, 'twill boot to fire the naked fields. 

And the light stubble burn with crackling flames ; 

Whether that earth therefrom some hidden strength 

And fattening food derives, or that the fire 

Bakes every blemish out, and sweats away 

Each useless humour, or that the heat unlocks 

New passages and secret pores, whereby 

Their life-juice to the tender blades may win ; 

Or that it hardens more and helps to bind 

The gaping veins, lest penetrating showers, 

Or fierce sun's ravening might, or searching blast 

Of the keen north should sear them. Well, I wot. 

He serves the fields who with his harrow breaks 

8 GEORGIC I. 94-113 

The sluggish clods, and hurdles osier-twined 
Hales o'er them ; from the far Oljrmpian height 
Him golden Ceres not in vain regards ; 
And he, who having ploughed the fallow plain 
And heaved its furrowy ridges, turns once more 
Cross-wise his shattering share, with stroke on stroke 
The earth assails, and makes the field his thrall. 

Pray for wet summers and for winters fine. 
Ye husbandmen ; in winter's dust the crops 
Exceedingly rejoice, the field hath joy ; 
No tilth makes Mysia lift her head so high. 
Nor Gargarus his own harvests so admire. 
Why tell of him, who, having launched his seed. 
Sets on for close encounter, and rakes smooth 
The dry dust hillocks, then on the tender com 
Lets in the flood, whose waters follow fain ; 
And when the parched field quivers, and all the blades 
Are dying, from the brow of its hill-bed. 
See ! see ! he lures the runnel ; down it falls. 
Waking hoarse murmurs o'er the polished stones. 
And with its bubblings slakes the thirsty fields ? 
Or what of him, who lest the heavy ears 
O'erweigh the stalk, while yet in tender blade 
Feeds down the crop's luxuriance, when its growth 
First tops the furrows ? Or of him who drains 

1 13-132 GEORGIC I. 

The marsh-land*s gathered ooze through soaking sand, 
Chiefly what time in treacherous moons a stream 
Goes out in spate, and with its coat of slime 
Holds all the country, whence the hollow dykes 
Sweat steaming vapour ? 

But no whit the more. 
For all expedients tried and travail borne 
By man and beast in turning oft the soil, 
Do greedy goose and Strymon-haunting cranes 
And succory's bitter fibres not molest. 
Or shade not injure. The great sire himself 
No easy road to husbandry assigned, 
And first was he by human skill to rouse 
The slumbering glebe, whetting the minds of men 
With care on care, nor suffering realm of his 
In drowsy sloth to stagnate. Before Jove 
Fields knew no taming hand of husbandmen ; 
To mark the plain or mete with boundary-line — 
Even this was impious ; for the common stock 
They gathered, and the earth of her own will 
All things more freely, no man bidding, bore. 
He to black serpents gave their venom-bane, 
And bade the wolf go prowl, and ocean toss ; 
Shook from the leaves their honey ,'*put fire away, 
And curbed the random rivers running wine, 

lo GEORGIC /. 1 33- 15 1 

That use by gradual dint of thought on thought 

Might forge the various arts, with furrow's help 

The corn-blade win, and strike out hidden fire 

From the flint's heart. Then first the streams were 'ware 

Of hollowed alder-hulls : the sailor then 

Their names and numbers gave to star and star, 

Pleiads and Hyads, and Lycaon's child 
Bright Arctos ; how with nooses then was found 
To catch wild beasts, and cozen them with lime. 
And hem with hounds the mighty forest-glades. 
Soon one with hand-net scourges the broad stream, 
Probing its depths, one drags his dripping toils 
Along the main ; then iron's unbending might, 
And shrieking saw-blade, — for the men of old 
With wedges wont to cleave the splintering log ; — 
Then divers arts arose ; toil conquered all. 
Remorseless toil, and poverty's shrewd push 
In times of hardship. Ceres was the first, 
Set mortals on with tools to turn the sod. 
When now the awful groves 'gan fail to bear 
Acorns and arbutes, and her wonted food 
Dodona gave no more. Soon, too, the corn 
Gat sorrow's increase, that an evil blight 
Ate up the stalks, and thistle reared his spines 
An idler in the fields ; the crops die down ; 

151-171 GEORGIC L II 

Upsprings instead a shaggy growth of burrs 
And caltrops ; and amid the . corn-fields trim 
Unfruitful darnel and wild oats have sway. 
Wherefore, unless thou shalt with ceaseless rake 
The weeds pursue, with shouting scare the birds, 
Prune with thy hook the dark field's matted shade, 
Pray down the showers, all vainly thou shalt eye. 
Alack ! thy neighbour's heaped-up harvest-mow. 
And in the greenwood from a shaken oak 
Seek solace for thine hunger. 

Now to tell 
The sturdy rustics' weapons, what they are, 
Without which, neither can be sown nor reared 
The fruits of harvest ; first the bent plough's share 
And heavy timber, and slow-lumbering wains 
Of the Eleusiniau mother, threshing-sleighs 
And drags, and harrows with their crushing weight ; 
Then the cheap wicker-ware of Celeus old» 
Hurdles of arbute, and thy mystic fan, 
lacchus ; which, full tale, long ere the time 
Thou must with heed lay by, if thee await 
Not all unearned the country's crown divine. 
While yet within the woods, the elm is tamed 
And bowed with mighty force to form the stock, 
And take the plough's curved shape, then nigh the root 

«i GEORGIC L 1 71-190 

A |K>!c t^ight feet projecting, earth-boards twain, 

.\»ul Mh^rt^-beain with its double back they fix. 

W^i yoke is early hewn a linden light. 

\y\A \x tall beach for handle, from behind 

I'o turn the car at lowest : then o'er the hearth 

Tho wood they hang till the smoke knows it well. 

NUny the precepts of the men of old, 
I K>ix\\ rtJCount thee, so thou start not back, 
Alul Much slight cares to learn not weary thee. 
And this among the first: your threshing-floor 
With ponderous roller must be levelled smooth, 
Alul wrought by hand, and fixed with binding chalk, 
X'V^^X weeds arise, or dust a passage win 
Splitting the surface, then a thousand plagues 
Mttke sport of it: oft builds the tiny mouse 
tlrr home, and plants her granary, underground, 
Or burrow for their bed the purblind moles. 
Or toad is found in hollows, and all the swarm 
(^f earth's unsightly creatures ; or a huge 
Corn-heap the weevil plunders, and the ant, 
Fearful of coming age and penury. 
Mark too, what time the walnut in the woods 
With ample bloom shall clothe her, and bow down 
Her odorous branches, if the fruit prevail, 
Like store of grain will follow, and there shall come 

190-210 GEORGIC L 13 

A mighty winnowing-time with mighty heat ; 

But if the shade with wealth of leaves abound, 

Vainly your threshing-floor will bruise the stalks 

Swoln but with chaff. Many myself have seen 

Steep, as they sow, their pulse-seeds, drenching them 

With nitre and black oil-lees, that the fruit 

Might swell within the treacherous pods, and they 

Make speed to boil at howso* small a fire. 

Yet, culled with caution, proved with patient toil, 

These have I seen degenerate, did not man 

Put forth his hand with power, and year by year 

Choose out the largest. So, by fate impelled. 

Speed all things to the worse, and backward borne 

Glide from us ; even as who with struggling oars 

Up stream scarce pulls a shallop, if his arms 

Relax but for one moment, and the boat 

Is headlong swept adown the hurrying tide. 

Us too behoves Arcturus' sign observe. 

And the Kids* seasons and the shining Snake, 

No less than those who o*er the windy main 

Borne homeward tempt the Pontic, and the jaws 

Of oyster-rife Abydos. When the Scales 

Now poising fair the hours of sleep and day 

Give half the world to sunshine, half to shade. 

Then urge your bulls, my masters ; sow the plain 

14 GEORGIC L 211-230 

Even to the verge of tameless winter's showers 
With barley : then, too, time it is to hide 
Your flax in earth, and poppy, Ceres' joy, 
Ay, more than time to bend above the plough, 
While earth, yet dry, forbids not, and the clouds 
Are buoyant. With the spring comes bean-sowing ; 
Thee, too. Lucerne, the crumbling furrows then 
Receive, and millet's annual care returns, 
What time the white bull with his gilded horns 
Opens the year, before whose threatening front, 
Routed the dog-star sinks. But if it be 
For wheaten harvest and the hardy spelt. 
Thou tax the soil, to corn-ears wholly given. 
Let Atlas* daughters hide them in the dawn, 
The Cretan star, a crown of fire, depart. 
Or e'er the furrow's claim of seed thou quit. 
Or haste thee to entrust the whole year's hope 
To earth that would not. Many have begun 
Ere Maia*s star be setting ; these, I trow. 
Their looked-for harvest fools with empty ears. 
But if the vetch and common, kidney-bean 
Thou'rt fain to sow, nor scorn to make thy care 
Pelusiac lentil, no uncertain sign 
Bootes' fall will send thee ; then begin, 
Pursue thy sowing till half the frosts be done. 

231-250 GEORGIC L 15 

Therefore it is the golden sun, his course 
Into fixed parts dividing, rules his way 
Through the twelve constellations of the world. 
Five zones the heaven contain ; whereof is one 
Aye red with flashing sunlight, fervent aye 
From fire ; on either side to left and right 
Are traced the utmost twain, stiff with blue ice, 
And black with scowling storm-clouds, and betwixt 
These and the midmost, other twain there lie, 
By the Gods' grace to heart-sick mortals given. 
And a path cleft between them, where might wheel 
On sloping plane the system of the Signs. 
And as toward Scythia and Rhipaean heights 
The world mounts upward, likewise sinks it down 
Toward Libya and the south, this pole of ours 
Still towering high, that other, 'neath their feet, 
By dark Styx frowned on, and the abysmal shades. 
Here glides the huge Snake forth with sinuous coils 
*Twixt the two Bears and round them river-wise — 
The bears that fear 'neath Ocean's brim to dip. 
There either, say they, reigns the eternal hush 
Of night that knows no seasons, her black pall 
Thick-mantling fold on fold ; or thitherward 
From us returning Dawn brings back the day ; 
And when the first breath of his panting steeds 

i6 GEORGIC I. 250-271 

On us the Orient flings, that hour with them 
Red Vesper 'gins to trim his lated fires. 
Hence under doubtful skies forebode we can 
The coming tempests, hence both harvest-day 

- ■ 

And seed-time, when to smite the treacherous main 
With driving oars, when launch the fair^rigged fleet. 
Or in ripe hour to fell the forest-pine. 
Hence, too, not idly do we watch the stars — 
Their rising and their setting — and the year. 
Four varying seasons to one law conformed. 

If chilly showers e'er shut the farmer's door, 
Much that had soon with sunshine cried for haste, 
He may forestall ; the ploughman batters keen 
His blunted share's hard tooth, scoops from a tree 
His troughs, or on the cattle stamps a brand, 
Or numbers on the corn-heaps ; some make sharp 
The stakes and two-pronged forks, and willow-bands 
Amerian for the bending vine prepare. 
Now let the pliant basket plaited be 
Of bramble-twigs ; now set your corn to parch 
Before the fire ; now bruise it with the stone. 
Nay even on holy days some tasks to ply 
Is right and lawful : this no ban forbids, 
To turn the runnel's course, fence corn-fields in. 
Make springes for the birds, burn up the briars, 

27^-290 GEORGIC I. 17 

And plunge in wholesome stream the bleating flock. 

Oft too with oil or apples plenty-cheap 

The creeping ass's ribs his driver packs, 

And home from town returning brings instead ' 

A dented mill-stone or black lump of pitch. 

The moon herself in various rank assigns 
The days for labour lucky : fly the fifth ; 
Then sprang pale Orcus and the Eumenides ; 
Earth then in awful labour brought to light 
Coeus, lapetus, and Typhoeus fell, 
And those sworn brethren banded to break down 
The gates of heaven ; thrice, sooth to say, they strove 
Ossa on Pelion's top to heave and heap, 
Ay, and on Ossa to up-roll amain 
Leafy Olympus ; thrice with thunderbolt 
Their mountain-stair the Sire asunder smote. 
Seventh after tenth is lucky both to set 
The vine in earth, and take and tame the steer. 
And fix the leashes to the warp ; the ninth 
To runagates is kinder, cross to thieves. 

Many the tasks that lightlier lend themselves 
In chilly night, or when the suq is young. 
And Dawn bedews the world. By night 'tis best 
To reap light stubble, and parched fields by night ; 
For nights the suppling moisture never fails. 




And one will sit the long: l^te watches out 
By winter fire-light, shaping with keen blade 
The torches to a point ; his wife, the while, 
\\t:T lcdiou?> labour soothing with a song. 
Speeds the shrill comb along the warp, or else 
With Vulcan's aid boils the sweet must-juice down. 
And hkims with leaves the quivering cauldron's wave. 

But ruddy Ceres in mid heat is mown, 
And in mid heat the parched ears are bruised 
Upon the floor ; plough stripped, and strip to sow ; 
Winter's the lazy time for husbandmen. 
In the cold season farmers wont to taste 
'I'he increase of their toil, and vield themselves 
To mutual interchange of festal cheer. 
Boon winter bids them, and unbinds their cares, 
As laden keels, when now the port they touch. 
And happy sailors crown the sterns with flowers. 
Nathlessthen also time it is to strip 
Acorns from oaks, and berries from the bay, 
Olives, and bleeding myrtles, then to set 
Snares for the crane, and meshes for the stag. 
And hunt the long-eared haies, then pierce the doe 
With whirl of hempen-thonged Balearic sling, 
While snow lies deep, and streams are drifting ice. 

What need to tell of autumn's storms and stars. 

312-330 GEORGIC L 19 

A nd wherefore men must watch, when now the dav 
Grows shorter, and more soft the summer's heat ? 
When Spring the rain-bringer comes rushing down, 
Or when the beards of harvest on the plain 
Bristle already, and the milky corn 
On its green stalk is swelling ? Many a time,' 
When now the farmer to his yellow fields 
The reaping-hind came bringing, even in act 
To lop the brittle barley stems, have I 
Seen all the wind}*^ legions clash in war 
Together, as to rend up far and wide 
The heavy corn-crop from its lowest roots. 
And toss it skyward : so might winter's flaw. 
Dark-eddying, whirl light stalks and flying straws. 

Oft too comes looming vast along the sky 
A march of waters ; mustering from above. 
The clouds roll up the tempest, heaped and grim 
With angry showers : down falls the height of heaven, 
And with a great rain floods the smiling crops. 
The oxen's labour : now the dykes fill fast, 
And the void river-beds swell thunderously, 
And all the panting firths of Ocean boil. 
The Sire himself in midnight of the clouds 
Wields with red hand the levin ; through all her bulk 
Earth at the hurly quakes ; the beasts are fled, 

20 GEORGIC I. 330-348 

And mortal hearts of every kindred sunk 

In cowering terror ; he with flaming brand 

AthoSy or Rhodope, or Ceraunian crags 

Precipitates : then doubly raves the South 

With shower on blinding shower, and woods and coasts 

Wail fitfully beneath the mighty blast. 

This fearing, mark the months and Signs of heaven. 

Whither retires him Saturn's icy star, 

And through what heavenly cycles wandereth 

The glowing orb Cyllenian. Before all 

Worship the Gods, and to great Ceres pay 

Her yearly dues upon the happy sward 

With sacrifice, anigh the utmost end 

Of winter, and when Spring begins to smile. 

Then lambs are fat, and wines are mellowest then ; 

Then sleep is sweet, and dark the shadows fall 

Upon the mountains. Let your rustic youth 

To Ceres do obeisance, one and all ; 

And for her pleasure thou mix honeycombs 

With milk and the ripe wine-god ; thrice for luck 

Around the young corn let the victim go. 

And all the choir, a joyful company, 

Attend it, and with shouts bid Ceres come 

To be their house-mate ; and let no man dare 

Put sickle to the ripened ears until, 

349-368 GEORGIC I. 21 

With woven oak his temples chapleted, 

He foot the rugged dance and chant the la)-. 

Ay, and that these things we might win to know 
By certain tokens, heats, and showers, and winds 
That bring the frost, the Sire of all himself 
Ordained what warnings in her monthly round 
The moon should give, what bodes the south wind's fall. 
What oft-repeated sights the herdsman seeing 
Should keep his cattle closer to their stalls. 
No sooner are the winds at point to rise, 
Than either Ocean's firths begin to toss 
And swell, and a dry crackling sound is heard 
Upon the heights, or one loud ferment booms 
The beach afar, and through the forest goes 
A murmur multitudinous. By this 
Scarce can the billow spare the curved keels. 
When swift the sea-gulls from the middle main 
Come winging, and their shrieks are shoreward borne. 
When ocean-loving cormorants on dry land 
Besport them, and the hern, her marshy haunts 
Forsaking, mounts above the soaring cloud. 
Oft, too, when wind is toward, the stars thou'It see 
From heaven shoot headlong, and through murky night 
Long trails of fire white-glistening in their wake, 
Or light chaflf flit in air with fallen leaves. 

22 GEORGIC L 369-388 

Or feathers on the wave- top float and play. 

But when from regions of the furious North 

It lightens, and when thunder fills the halls 

Of Eurus and of Zephyr, all the fields 

With brimming dykes are flooded, and at sea 

No mariner but furls his dripping sails. 

Never at unawares did shower annoy : 

Or, as it rises, the high-soaring cranes 

Flee to the vales before it, or, with face 

Upturned to heaven, the heifer snuffs the gale 

Through gaping nostrils, or about the meres 

Shrill-twittering flits the swallow, and the frogs 

Crouch in the mud and chant their dirge of old. 

Oft, too, the ant from out her inmost cells. 

Fretting the narrow path, her eggs conveys ; 

Or the huge bow sucks moisture ; or a host 

Of rooks from food returning in long line 

Clamour with jostling wings. Now mayst thou see 

The various ocean-fowl and those that pry 

Round Asian meads within thy freshet-pools^ 

Cayster, as in eager rivalry. 

About their shoulders dash the plenteous spray. 

Now duck their head beneath the wave, now run 

Into the billows, for sheer idle joy 

Of their mad bathing-revel. Then the crow 

388-408 GEORGIC I. 23 

With full voice, good-for-naught, inviting rain, 
Stalks on the dry sand mateless and alone. 
Nor e*en the maids, that card their nightly task. 
Know not the storm-sign, when in blazing crock 
They see the lamp-oil sputtering with a growth 
Of mouldy snuflf-clots. 

So too, after rain, 
Sunshine and open skies thou mayst forecast. 
And learn by tokens sure, for then nor dimmed 
Appear the stars' keen edges, nor the moon 
As borrowing of her brother's beams to rise. 
Nor fleecy films to float along the sky. 
Not to the sun's warmth then upon the shore 
Do halcyons dear to Thetis ope their wings. 
Nor filthy swine take thought to toss on high 
With scattering snout the straw- wisps. But the clouds 
Seek more the vales, and rest upon the plain. 
And from the roof-top the night-owl for naught 
Watching the sunset plies her 'lated song. 
Distinct in clearest air is Nisus seen 
Towering, and Scylla for the purple lock 
Pays dear ; for whereso, as she flies, her wings 
The light air winnow, lo ! fierce, implacable, 
Nisus with mighty whirr through heaven pursues ; 
Where Nisus heavenward soareth, there her wings 

24 GEORGIC /. 409-427 

Clutch as she flies, the light air winnowing still. 
Soft then the voice of rooks from indrawn throat 
Thrice, four times, o'er repeated, and full oft 
On their high cradles by some hidden joy 
Gladdened beyond their wont, in bustling throngs 
Among the leaves they riot ; so sweet it is, 
When showers are spent, their own loved nests again 
And tender brood to visit. Not, I deem, 
That heaven some native wit to these assigned. 
Or fate a larger prescience, but that when 
The storm and shifting moisture of the air 
Have changed their courses, and the sky-god now, 
Wet with the south-wind, thickens what was rare, 
And what was gross releases, then, too, change 
Their spirits' fleeting phases, and their breasts 
Feel other motions now, than when the wind 
Was driving up the cloud- rack. Hence proceeds 
That blending of the feathered choirs afield, 
The cattle's exultation, and the rooks' 
Deep-throated triumph. 

But if the headlong sun 
And moons in order following thou regard, 
Ne'er will to-morrow's hour deceive thee, ne'er 
Wilt thou be caught by guile of cloudless night. 
When first the moon recalls her rallying fires. 

428-448 GEORGIC I. 25 

If dark the air clipped by her crescent dim, 
For folks afield and on the open sea 
A mighty rain is brewing ; but if her face 
With maiden blush she mantle, 'twill be wind. 
For wind turns Phoebe still to ruddier gold. 
But if at her fourth rising, for 'tis that 
Gives surest counsel, clear she ride thro' heaven 
With horns unblunted, then shall that whole day. 
And to the month's end those that spring from it. 
Rainless and windless be, while safe ashore 
Shall sailors pay their vows to Panope, 
Glaucus, and Melicertes, Ino's child. 

The sun too, both at rising, and when soon 
He dives beneath the waves, shall yield thee signs ; 
For signs, none trustier, travel with the sun. 
Both those which in their course with dawn he brings, 
And those at star-rise. When his springing orb 
With spots he pranketh, muffled in a cloud. 
And shrinks half circle, then of showers beware ; 
For then the South comes driving from the deep. 
To trees and crops and cattle bringing bane. 
Or when at day-break through dark clouds his rays 
Burst and are scattered, or when rising pale 
Aurora quits Tithonus' saffron bed. 
But sorry shelter then, alack ! will yield 

26 GEORGIC I. 448-467 

Vine-leaf to ripening grapes ; so thick a hail 

In spiky showers spins rattling on the roof. 

And this yet more 'twill boot thee bear in mind, 

When now, his course upon Olympus run, 

He draws to his decline : for oft we see 

Upon the sun*s own face strange colours stray ; 

Dark tells of rain, of East winds fiery-red ; 

If spots with ruddy fire begin to mix. 

Then all the heavens convulsed in wrath thou'lt see — 

Storm-clouds and wind together. Me that night 

Let no man bid fare forth upon the deep, 

Nor rend the rope from shore. But if, when both 

He brings again and hides the day's return. 

Clear-orbed he shineth, idly wilt thou dread 

The storm-clouds, and beneath the lustral North 

See the woods waving. What late eve in fine 

Bears in her bosom, whence the wind that brings 

Fair-weather-clouds, or what the rainy South 

Is meditating, tokens of all these 

The sun will give thee. Who dare charge the sun 

With leasing ? He it is who warneth oft 

Of hidden broils at hand and treachery. 

And secret swelling of the waves of war. 

He too it was, when Caesar's light was quenched. 

For Rome had pity, when his bright head he veiled 

467-488 GEORGIC L 27 

In iron-hued darkness, till a godless age 
Trembled for night eternal ; at that time 
Howbeit earth also, and the ocean-plains. 
And dogs obscene, and birds of evil bode 
Gave tokens. . Yea, how often have we seen 
Etna, her furnace- walls asunder riven. 
In billowy floods boil o'er the Cyclops* fields. 
And roll down globes of fire and molten rocks ! 
A clash of arms through all the heaven was heard 
By Germany ; strange heavings shook the Alps. 
Yea, and by many through the breathless groves 
A voice was heard with power, and wondrous-pale 
Phantoms were seen upon the dusk of night. 
And cattle spake, portentous ! streams stand still. 
And the earth yawns asunder, ivory weeps 
For sorrow in the shrines, and bronzes sweat. 
Up-twirling forests with his eddying tide. 
Madly he bears them down, that lord of floods, 
Eridanus, till through all the plain are swept 
Beasts and their stalls together. At that time 
In gloomy entrails ceased not to appear 
Dark-threatening fibres, springs to trickle blood. 
And high-built cities night-long to resound 
With the wolves* howling. Never more than then 
From skies all cloudless fell the thunderbolts, 

28 GEORGIC I. 488-507 

•Nor blazed so oft the comet's fire of bale. 
Therefore a second time Philippi saw 
The Roman hosts with kindred weapons rush 
To battle, nor did the high gods deem it hard 
That twice Emathia and the wide champaign 
Of Haemus should be fattening with oyr blood. 
Ay, and the time will come when thereanigh, 
Heaving the earth up with his curved plough, 
Some swain will light on javelins by foul rust 
Corroded, or with ponderous harrow strike 
On empty helmets, while he gapes to see 
Bones as of giants from the trench untombed. 
Gods of my country, heroes of the soil, 
And Romulus, and Mother Vesta, thou 
Who Tuscan Tiber and Rome's Palatine 
Preservest, this new champion at the least 
Our fallen generation to repair 
Forbid not. To the full and long ago 
Our blood thy Trojan perjuries hath paid, 
Laomedon. Long since the courts of heaven 
Begrudge us thee, our Caesar, and complain 
That thou regard'st the triumphs of mankind. 
Here where the wrong is right, the right is wrong, 
Where wars abound so many, and myriad-faced 
Is crime ; where no meet honour hath the plough ; 

507-514 GEORGIC L 29 

The fields, their husbandmen led far away. 

Rot in neglect, and curved pruning-hooks 

Into the sword's stiff blade are fused and forged. 

Euphrates here, here Germany new strife 

Is stirring ; neio^hbouring cities are in arms. 

The laws that bound them snapt ; and godless war 

Rages through all the universe ; as when 

The four-horse chariots from the barriers poured 

Still quicken o'er the course, and, idly now 

Grasping the reins, the driver by his team 

Is onward borne, nor heeds the car his curb. 


GEORGIC II. 1-14. 

Thus far the tilth of fields and stars of heaven ; 

Now, Bacchus, thee Fll sing, and, linked with thee. 

The forest's young plantations and the fruit 

Of slow- maturing olive. Hither haste, 

O Father of the wine-press ; all things here 

Teem with the bounties of thy hand ; for thee 

With viny autumn laden blooms the field, 

And foams the vintage high with brimming vats ; 

Hither, O Father of the wine-press, come, 

And stripped of buskin stain thy bar^d limbs 

In the new must with me. 

First nature's law 
For generating trees is manifold ; 
For some of their own force spontaneous spring, 
No hand of man compelling, and possess 
The plains and river-windings far and wide, 
As pliant osier and the bending broom, 
Poplar, and willows in wan companies 
With green leaf glimmering gray ; and some there be 


34 GEORGIC II. 14-32 

From chance-dropped seed that rear them, as the tall 

Chestnuts, and, mightiest of the branching wood, 

Jove's -^sculus, and oaks oracular 

Deemed by the Greeks of old. With some sprouts forth 

A forest of dense suckers from the root, 

As elms and cherries ; so, too, a pigmy plant 

Beneath its mother's mighty shade upshoots 

The bay-tree of Parnassus. Such the modes 

Nature imparted first ; hence all the race 

Of forest-trees and shrubs and sacred groves 

Springs into verdure. 

Other means there are, 
Which use by method for itself acquired. 
One, sliving suckers from the tender frame 
Of the tree-mother, plants them in the trench ; 
One buries the bare stumps within his field. 
Truncheons cleft four-wise, or sharp-pointed stakes ; 
Some forest-trees the layer's bent arch await, 
And slips yet quick within the parent-soil ; 
No root need others, nor doth the pruner's hand 
Shrink to restore the topmost-towering shoot 
To earth that gave it. Ay, marvellous to tell. 
Lopped of its limbs, the olive, a mere stock. 
Still thrusts its root out from the sapless wood, 
And oft the branches of one kind we see 

33-49 GEORGIC II. 35 

Change to another's with no loss to rue, 
Pear-tree transformed the ingrafted apple yield. 
And stony cornels on the plum-tree blush. 

Come then, and learn what tilth to each belongs 
According to their kinds, ye husbandmen, 
And tame with culture the wild fruits, lest earth 
Lie idle. O blithe to make all Ismarus 
One forest of the wine-god, and to clothe 
With olives huge Tabernus ! And be thou 
At hand, and with me ply the voyage of toil 
I am bound on, O my glory, O thou that art 
Justly the chiefest portion of my fame, 
Maecenas, and on this wide ocean launched 
Spread sail like wings to waft thee. Not that I 
With my poor verse would comprehend the whole. 
Nay, though a hundred tongues, a hundred mouths 
Were mine, a voice of iron ; be thou at hand. 
Skirt but the nearer coast-line ; see the shore 
Is in our grasp ; not now with feigned song 
Through winding bouts and tedious preludings 
Shall I detain thee. 

Those that lift their head 
Into the realms of light spontaneously, 
Fruitless indeed, but blithe and strenuous spring. 
Since Nature lurks within the soil. And yet 

36 GEORGIC II. 49-68 

Kven these, shonld one engraft thero, or transplant 
To well-drilled trenches, will anon put off 
Their woodland temper, and, by frequent tilth. 
To whatso craft thou summon them, make speed 
To follow. So likewise will the barren shaft 
That from the stock- root issueth, if it be 
Set out with clear space amid open fields : 
Now the tree-mother's towering leaves and boughs 
Darken, despoil of increase as it grows, 
And blast it in the bearing. Lastly, that 
Which from shed seed ariseth, upward wins 
But slowly, yielding promise of its shade 
To late-born generations ; apples wane 
Forgetful of their former juice, the grape 
Bears sorry clusters, for the birds a prey. 

Soothly on all must toil be spent, and all 
Trained to the trench and at great cost subdued. 
But reared from truncheons olives answer best, 
As vines from layers, and from the solid wood 
The Paphian myrtles ; while from suckers spring 
Both hardy hazels and huge ash, the tree 
That rims with shade the brows of Hercules, 
And acorns dear to the Chaonian sire : 
So springs the towering palm too, and the fir 
Destined to spy the dangers of the deep. 

69-88 GEORGIC II. 37 

But the rough arbutus with walnut-fruit 

Is grafted ; so have barren planes ere now 

Stout apples borne, with chestnut-flower the beach. 

The mountain-ash with pear-bloom whitened o'er, 

And swine crunched acorns 'neath the boughs of elms. 

Nor is the method of inserting eyes 
And grafting one : for where the buds push forth 
Amidst the bark, and burst the membranes thin. 
Even on the knot a narrow rift is made, 
Wherein from some strange tree a germ they pen. 
And to the moist rind bid it cleave and grow. 
Or, otherwise, in knotless trunks is hewn 
A breach, and deep into the solid grain 
A path with wedges cloven ; then fruitful slips 
Are set herein, and — no long time — behold ! 
To heaven upshot with teeming boughs, the tree 
Strange leaves admires and fruitage not its own. 

Nor of one kind alone are sturdy elms. 
Willow and lotus, nor the cypress-trees 
Of Ida ; nor of self-same fashion spring 
Fat olives, orchades and radii 
And bitter- berried pausians, no nor yet 
Apples and the forests of Alcinous ; 
Nor from like cuttings are Crustumian pears 
And Syrian, and the heavy hand-fillers. 

38 GEORGIC IL 89-109 

Not the same vintage from our trees hangs down, 
Which Lesbos from Methymna's tendril plucks. 
Vines Thasian are there, Mareotids white, 
These apt for richer soils, for lighter those : 
Psithian for rasin-wine more useful, thin 
Lageos, that one day will try the feet 
And tie the tongue : purples and early-ripes, 
And how, O Rhaetian, shall I hymn thy praise ? 
Yet cope not therefore with Falernian bins. 
Vines Aminaean too, best-bodied wine. 
To which the Tmolian bows him, ay and king 
Phanaeus too, and, lesser of that name, 
Argitis, wherewith not a grape can vie 
For gush of wine-juice or for length of years. 
Nor thee must I pass over, vine of Rhodes, 
Welcomed by gods and at the second board. 
Nor thee, Bumastus, with plump clusters swol'n. 
But lo ! how many kinds, and what their names. 
There is no telling, nor doth it boot to tell ; 
Who lists to know it, he too would list to learn 
How many sand-grains are by Zephyr tossed 
On Libya's plain, or wot, when Eurus falls 
With fury on the ships, how many waves 
Come rolling shoreward from the Ionian sea. 
Not that all soils can all things bedr alike. 

110-130 GEORGIC 11. 3c> 

Willows by water-courses have their birth, 

Alders in miry fens ; on rocky heights 

The barren mountain-ashes ; on the shore 

Myrtles throng gayest ; Bacchus, lastly, loves 

The bare hillside, and yews the north wind's chill. 

Mark too the earth bv outland tillers tamed. 

And Eastern homes of Arabs, and tattooed 

Geloni ; to all trees their native lands 

Allotted are ; no clime but India bears 

Black ebony ; the branch of frankincense 

Is Saba's sons' alone ; why tell to thee 

Of balsams oozing from the perfumed wood, 

Or berries of acanthus ever green ? 

Of i^thiop forests hoar with downy wool. 

Or how the Seres comb from off the leaves 

Their silky fleece ? Of groves which India bears. 

Ocean's near neighbour, earth's remotest nook. 

Where not an arrow can outsoar the air 

That crowns their tree-tops : yet no laggards they, 

When girded with the quiver. Media yields 

The bitter juices and slow-lingering taste 

Of the blest citron-fruit, than which no aid 

Comes timelier, when fierce step-dames drug the cup 

With simples mixed and spells of baneful power, 

To drive the deadly poison from the limbs. 

40 GEORGIC IL 131-150 

Large the tree's self in semblance like a bay, 
And showered it not a different scent abroad 
A bay it had been ; for no wind of heaven 
Its foliage falls ; the flower, none faster, clings ; 
With it the Medes for sweetness lave the lips, 
And ease^he panting breathlessness of age. 

But no, not Mede-land with its wealth of woods. 
Nor Ganges fair, and Hermus thick with gold. 
Can match the praise of Italy ; nor Ind, 
Nor Bactria, nor Panchaia one wide tract 
Of incense-teeming sand. Here never bulls 
With nostrils snorting fire upturned the sod 
Sown with the monstrous dragon's teeth, nor crop 
Of warriors bristled thick with lance and helm ; 
But heavy harvests and the Massic juice 
Of Bacchus fill its borders, overspread 
With fruitful flocks and olives. Hence arose 
The war-horse stepping proudly o'er the plain ; 
Hence thy white flocks Clitumnus, and the bull, 
Of victims mightiest, which full oft have led. 
Bathed in thy sacred stream, the triumph-pomp 
Of Romans to the temples of the gods. 
Here blooms perpetual spring, and summer here 
In months that are not summer's ; twice teem the flocks ; 
Twice doth the tree yield service of her fruit. 

151-169 GEORGIC II. 41 

But ravening tigers come not nigh, nor breed 

or savage lion, nor aconite betrays 

Its hapless gatherers, nor with sweep so vast 

Doth the scaled serpent trail his endless coils 

Along the ground, or wreathe him into spires. 

Mark too her cities, so many and so proud, 

Of mighty toil the achievement, town on town 

Up rugged precipices heaved and reared. 

And rivers undergliding ancient walls. 

Or should I celebrate the sea that laves 

Her upper shores and lower ? or those broad lakes ? 

Thee, Larius, greatest and, Benacus, thee 

With billowy uproar surging like the main ? 

Or sing her harbours, and the barrier cast 

Athwart the Lucrine, and how ocean chafes 

With mighty bellowings, where the Julian wave 

Echoes the thunder of his rout, and through 

Avernian inlets pours the Tuscan tide ? 

A land no less that in her veins displays 

Rivers of silver, mines of copper ore. 

Ay and with gold hath flowed abundantly. 

A land that reared a valiant breed of men, 

The Marsi and Sabellian youth, and, schooled 

To hardship, the Ligurian, and with these 

The Volscian javelin-aniied, the Decii too, 

42 GEORGIC 11. 169-189 

The Marii and Camilli, names of might. 
The Scipios, stubborn warriors, ay and thee. 
Great Caesar, who in Asia's utmost bounds 
With conquering arm e'en now art driving back 
The unwarlike Indian from the heights of Rome. 
Hail ! land of Saturn, mighty mother thou 
Of fruits and heroes ; 'tis for thee I dare 
Unseal the sacred fountains, and essay 
Themes of old art and glory, as I sing 
The song of Ascra through the towns of Rome. 

Now for the native gifts of various soils. 
What powers hath each, what hue, what natural bent 
For yielding increase. First your stubborn lands 
And churlish hill-sides, where are thorny fields 
Of meagre marl and gravel, these delight 
In long-lived olive-groves to Pallas dear. 
Take for a sign the plenteous growth hard by 
Of oleaster, and the fields strewn wide 
With woodland berries. But a soil that's rich. 
In moisture sweet exulting, and the plain 
That teems with grasses on its fruitful breast. 
Such as full oft in hollow mountain-dell 
We view beneath us — from the craggy heights 
Streams thither flow with fertilizing mud — 
A plain which southward rising feeds the fern 

189-210 GEORGIC II, 43 

By curved ploughs detested, this one day 

Shall yield thee store of vines full strong to gush 

In torrents of the wine-god ; this shall be 

Fruitful of grapes and flowing juice like that 

We pour to heaven in bowls of gold, what time 

The sleek Etruscan at the altar blows 

His ivory pipe, and on the curved dish 

We lay the reeking entrails. If to rear 

Cattle delight thee rather, steers, or lambs. 

Or goats that shrivel the young crops, then seek 

Full-fed Tarentum's glades and distant fields. 

Or such a plain as luckless Mantua lost. 

Whose weedy water feeds the snow-white swan : 

There nor clear springs nor grass the flocks will fail, 

And all the day-long browsing of thy herds 

Shall the cool dews of one brief night repair. 

Land which the burrowing share shows dark and rich, 

With crumbling soil — for this we counterfeit 

In ploughing — for corn is goodliest ; from no field 

More wains thou*lt see wend home with plodding steers ; 

Or that from which the husbandman in spleen 

Has cleared the timber, and o'erthrown the copse 

That year on year lay idle, and from the roots 

Uptom the immemorial haunt of birds ; 

They banished from their nests have sought the skies ; 

44 GEORGIC II. 211-231 

But the rude plain beneath the ploughshare's stroke 

Hath started into brightness. For indeed 

The starved hill-country gravel scarce serves the bees 

With lowly cassias and with rosemary ; 

Rough tufa and chalk too, by black water-worms 

Gnawed through and through, proclaim no soils beside 

So rife with serpent-dainties, or that yield 

Such winding lairs to lurk in. That again, 

Which vapoury mist and flitting smoke exhales, 

Drinks moisture up and casts it forth at will, 

Which, ever in its own green grass arrayed, 

Mars not the metal with salt scurf of rust, 

That shall thine elms with merry vines enwreathe ; 

That teems with olive ; that shall thy tilth prove kind 

To cattle, and patient of the curved share. 

Such ploughs rich Capua, such the coast that skirts 

Thy ridge, Vesuvius, and the Clanian flood, 

Acerrae's desolation and her bane. 

How each to recognise now hear me tell. 

Dost ask if loose or passing firm it be — 

Since one for corn hath liking, one for wine. 

The firmer sort for Ceres, none too loose 

For thee, Lyaeus — with scrutinizing eye 

First choose thy ground, and bid a pit be sunk 

Deep in the solid earth, then cast the mould 

232-251 GEORGIC II. 45 

All back again, and stamp the surface smooth. 

If it suffice not, loose will be the land. 

More meet for cattle and for kindly vines ; 

But if, rebellious, to its proper bounds 

The soil returns not, but fills all the trench 

And overtops it, then the glebe is gross ; 

Look for stiff ridges and reluctant clods. 

And with strong bullocks cleave the fallow crust. 

Salt ground again, and bitter, as 'tis called — 

Barren for fruits, by tilth untamable, 

Nor grape her kind, nor apples their good name 

Maintaining — will in such wise yield thee proof ; 

Stout osier-baskets from the rafter-smoke. 

And strainers of the winepress pluck thee down ; 

Hereinto let that evil land, with fresh 

Spring-water mixed, be trampled to the full ; 

The moisture, mark you, will ooze all away. 

In big drops issuing through the osier- withes, 

But plainly will its taste the secret tell. 

And with a harsh twang ruefully distort 

The mouths of them that try it. Rich soil again 

We learn on this wise : tossed from hand to hand 

Yet cracks it never, but pitch-like, as we hold. 

Clings to the fingers. A moist land is rife 

With lustier grasses, more than meet itself 

46 GEORGIC II. 252-270 

Luxuriant. Ah ! may never such for me 
0*er-fertile prove, or make too stout a show 
At the first earing ! Heavy land or light 
The mute self- witness of its weight betrays. 
A glance will serve to warn thee which is black. 
Or what the hue of any. But hard it is 
To track the signs of that pernicious cold : 
Pines only, noxious yews, and ivies dark 
At times reveal its traces. 

All these rules 
Regarding, let your land, ay long before, 
Scorch to the quick, and into trenches carve 
The mighty mountains, and their upturned clods 
Bare to the north wind, ere thou plant therein 
The vine's prolific kindred. Fields whose soil 
Is crumbling are the best : winds look to that. 
And bitter hoar-frosts, and the delver's toil 
Untiring, as he stirs the loosened glebe. 
But those, whose vigilance no care escapes. 
Search for a kindred site, where first to rear 
A nursery for the trees, and eke whereto 
Soon to translate them, lest the sudden shock 
From their new mother the young plants estrange. 
Nay, even the quarter of the sky they brand 
Upon the bark, that each may be restored. 

270-289 GEORGIC IL 47 

As erst it stood, here bore the southern heats, 
Here turned its shoulder to the northern pole ; 
So strong is custom formed in early years. 
Whether on hill or plain, *tis best to plant 
Your vineyard first inquire. If on some plain 
You measure out rich acres, then plant thick ; 
Thick planting makes no niggard of the vine ; 
But if on rising mound or sloping hill, 
Then let the rows have room, so none the less 
Each line you draw, when all the trees are set, 
May tally to perfection. Even as oft 
In mighty war, whenas the legion's length 
Deploys its cohorts, and the column stands 
In open plain, the ranks of battle set, 
And far and near with rippling sheen of arms 
The wide earth flickers, nor yet in grisly strife 
Foe grapples foe, but dubious *twixt the hosts 
The war-god wavers ; so let all be ranged 
In equal rows symmetric, not alone 
To feed an idle fancy with the view. 
But since not otherwise will earth afford 
Vigour to all alike, nor yet the boughs 
Have power to stretch them into open space. 

Shouldst haply of the furrow's depth inquire. 
Even to a shallow trench I dare commit 

48 GEORGIC 11. 289-310 

TJie vine ; but deeper in the ground is fixed 

The tree that props it, aesculus in chief. 

Which howso' far its summit soars toward heaven, 

So deep strikes root into the vaults of hell. 

It therefore neither storms, nor blasts, nor showers 

Wrench from its bed ; unshaken it abides. 

And many a generation, many an age 

Of men rolls onward, and survives them all. 

Stretching its titan arms and branches far, 

Sole central pillar of a world of shade. 

Nor toward the sunset let thy vineyards slope. 
Nor midst the vines plant hazel ; neither take 
The topmost shoots for cuttings, nor from the top 
Of the supporting tree your suckers tear; 
So deep their love of earth ; nor wound the plants 
With blunted blade ; nor truncheons intersperse 
Of the wild olive : for oft from careless swains 
A spark hath fallen, that, 'neath the unctuous rind 
Hid thief-like first, now grips the tough tree-bole. 
And mounting to the leaves on high, sends forth 
A roar to heaven, then coursing through the boughs 
And airy summits reigns victoriously, 
Wraps all the grove in robes of fire, and gross 
With pitch-black vapour heaves the murky reek 
Skyward, most chiefly if a storm has swooped 

311-331 GEORGIC II. 49 

Down on the forest, and a driving wind 

Rolls up the conflagration. When 'tis so, 

Their root-force fails them, nor, when lopped away, 

Can they recover, and from the earth beneath 

Spring to like verdure ; thus alone survives 

The bare wild olive with its bitter leaves. 

Liet none persuade thee, howso weighty-wise. 
To stir the soil when stiff with Boreas' breath. 
Then ice-bound winter locks the fields, nor lets 
The young plant fix its frozen root to earth. 
Best sow your vineyards when in blushing spring 
Comes the white bird long-bodied snakes abhor, 
Or on the eve of autumn's earliest frost. 
Ere the swift sun-steeds touch the wintry Signs, 
While summer is departing. Spring it is 
Blesses the fruit-plantation, spring the groves ; 
In spring earth swells and claims the fruitful seed. 
Then iEther,' sire omnipotent, leaps down 
With quickening showers to his glad wife's embrace, 
And, might with might commingling, rears to life 
All germs that teem within her ; then resound 
With songs of birds the greenwood-wildernesses. 
And in due time the herds their loves renew ; 
Then the boon earth yields increase, and the fields 
Unlock their bosoms to the warm west winds ; 

50 GEORGIC IL 331-351 

Soft moisture spreads o'er all things, and the blades 

Face the new suns, and safely trust them now ; 

The vine-shoot, fearless of the rising south. 

Or mighty north winds driving rain from heaven. 

Bursts into bud, and every leaf unfolds. 

E'en so, methinks, when Earth to being sprang. 

Dawned the first days, and such the course they held ; 

'Twas Spring-tide then, ay Spring, the mighty world 

Was keeping : Eurus spared his wintry blasts. 

When first the flocks drank sunlight, and a race 

Of men like iron from the hard glebe arose, 

And wild beasts thronged the woods, and stars the 

Nor could frail creatures bear this heavy strain, 
Did not so large a respite interpose 
*Twixt frost and heat, and heaven's relenting arms 
Yield earth a welcome. 

For the rest, whatever 
The sets thou plantest in thy fields, thereon 
Strew refuse rich, and with abundant earth 
Take heed to hide them, and dig in withal 
Rough shells or porous stone, for therebetween 
Will water trickle and fine vapour creep. 
And so the plants their drooping spirits raise. 
Ay, and there have bieen, who with weight of stone 

351-371 GEORGIC IL 51 

Or heavy potsherd press them from above ; 

This serves for shield in pelting showers, and this 

When the' hot dog-star chaps the fields with drought. 

The slips once planted, yet remains to cleave 
The earth about their roots persistently. 
And toss the cumbrous hoes, or task the soil 
With burrowing plough-share, and ply up and down 
Your labouring bullocks through the vineyard*s midst. 
Then too smooth reeds and shafts of whittled wand, 
And ashen poles and sturdy forks to shape. 
Whereby supported they may learn to mount. 
Laugh at the gales, and through the elm-tops win 
From storey up to storey. 

Now while yet 
The leaves are in their first fresh infant growth, 
Forbear their frailty, and while yet the bough 
Shoots joyfully toward heaven, with loosened rein 
Launched on the void, itself assail not yet 
With keen-edged sickle, but let the leaves alone 
Be culled with clip of fingers here and there. 
So when they clasp the elms with sturdy trunks 
Erect, then strip the leaves off, prune the boughs ; 
Sooner they shrink from steel, but then put forth 
The arm of power, and stem the branchy tide. 

Hedges too must be woven and all beasts 

52 GEORGIC 11. 371-393 

Barred entrance, chiefly while the leaf is young 

And witless of disaster ; for therewith, 

Beside harsh winters and overpowering sun, 

Wild buffaloes and pestering goats for aye 

Besport them, sheep and heifers glut their greed. 

Nor cold by hoar-frost curdled, nor the prone 

Dead weight of summer upon the parched crags, 

So scathe it, as the flocks with venom-bite 

Of their hard tooth, whose gnawing scars the stem. 

For no offence but this to Bacchus bleeds 

The goat at every altar, and old plays 

Upon the stage find entrance ; therefore too 

The sons of Theseus through the country-side — 

Hamlet and crossway — set the prize of wit, 

And on the smooth sward over oil^d skins 

Dance in their tipsy frolic. Furthermore 

The Ausonian swains, a race from Troy derived. 

Make merry with rough rhymes and boisterous mirth, 

Grim masks of hollowed bark assume, invoke 

Thee with glad hymns, O Bacchus, and to thee 

Hang puppet-faces on tall pines to swing. 

Hence every vineyard teems with mellowing fruit. 

Till hollow vale overflows, and gorge profound. 

Where'er the god hath turned his comely head. 

Therefore to Bacchus duly will we sing 

393-4H GEORGIC II. 53 

Meet honour with ancestral hymns, and cates 
And dishes bear him ; and the doomed goat 
Led by the horn shall at the altar stand, 
Whose entrails rich on hazel-spits we'll roast. 

This further task again, to dress the vine, 
Hath needs beyond exhausting ; the whole soil 
Thrice, four times, yearly must be cleft, the sod 
With hoes reversed be crushed continually, 
The whole plantation lightened of its leaves. 
Round on the labourer spins the wheel of toil. 
As on its own track rolls the circling year. 
Soon as the vine her lingering leaves hath shed. 
And the chill north wind from the forests shook 
Their coronal, e'en then the careful swain 
Looks keenly forward to the coming year. 
With Saturn's curved fang pursues and prunes 
The vine forlorn, and lops it into shape. 
Be first to dig the ground up, first to clear 
And burn the refuse-branches, first to house 
Again your vine-poles, last to gather fruit. 
Twice doth the thickening shade beset the vine, 
Twice weeds with stifling briars overgrow the crop ; 
And each a toilsome labour. Do thou praise 
Broad acres, farm but few. Rough twigs beside 
Of butcher's broom among the woods are cut. 

54 GEORGIC II. 414-434 

And reeds upon the river-banks, and still 
The undressed willow claims thy fostering care. 
So now the vines are fettered, now the trees 
Let go the sickle, and the last dresser now 
Sings of his finished rows : but still the ground 
Must vex^d be, the dust be stirred, and heaven 
Still set thee trembling for the ripened grapes. 

Not so with olives ; small husbandry need they, 
Nor look for sickle bowed or biting rake, 
When once they have gripped the soil, and borne the 

Earth of herself, with hooked fang laid bare. 
Yields moisture for the plants, and heavy fruit. 
The ploughshare aiding ; therewithal thou*lt rear 
The olive's fatness well-beloved of Peace. 

Apples, moreover, soon as first they feel 
Their stems wax lusty, and have found their strength. 
To heaven climb swiftly, self-impelled, nor crave 
Our succour. All the grove meanwhile no less 
With fruit is swelling, and the wild haunts of birds 
Blush with their blood-red berries. Cytisus 
Is good to browse on, the tall forest yields 
Pine-torches, and the nightly fires are fed 
And shoot forth radiance. And shall men be loath 
To plant, nor lavish of their pains ? Why trace 

434-457 GEORGIC IL 55 

Things mightier ? Willows even and lowly brooms 

To cattle their green leaves, to shepherds shade, 

Fences for crops, and food for honey yield. 

And blithe it is Cytorus to behold 

Waving with box, Narycian groves of pitch ; 

Oh ! blithe the sight of fields beholden not 

To rake or man's endeavour ! the barren woods 

That crown the scalp of Caucasus, e'en these. 

Which furious blasts for ever rive and rend, 

Yield various wealth, pine-logs that serve for ships, 

Cedar and cypress for the homes of men ; 

Hence, too, the farmers shave their wheel-spokes, hence 

Drums for their wains, and curved boat-keels fit ; 

Willows bear twigs enow, the elm-tree leaves, 

Myrtle stout spear- shafts, war-tried cornel too ; 

Yews into Ituraean bows are bent : 

Nor do smooth lindens or lathe-polished box 

Shrink from man's shapmg and keen- furrowing steel ; 

Light alder floats upon the boiling flood 

Sped down the Padus, and bees house their swarms 

In rotten holm-oak's hollow bark and bole. 

What of like praise can Bacchus' gifts aflbrd ? 

Nay, Bacchus e'en to crime hath prompted, he 

The wine-infuriate Centaurs quelled with death, 

Rhoetus and Pholus, and with mighty bowl 

56 GEORGIC IL 457-478 

Hylaeus threatening high the Lapithae. 

Oh ! all too happy tillers of the soil, 
Could they but know their blessedness, for whom 
Far from the clash of arms all-equal earth 
Pours from the ground herself their easy fare ! 
What though no lofty palace portal-proud 
From all its chambers vomits forth a tide 
Of morning courtiers, nor agape they gaze 
On pillars with fair tortoise-shell inwrought, 
Gold-purfled robes, and bronze from Ephyre ; 
Nor is the whiteness of their wool distained 
With drugs Assyrian, nor clear olive's use 
With cassia tainted, yet untroubled calm, 
A life that knows no falsehood, rich enow 
With various treasures, vet broad-acred ease. 
Grottoes and living lakes, yet Tempes cool. 
Lowing of kine, and sylvan slumbers soft, 
They lack not ; lawns and wild beasts' haunts are there, 
A youth of labour patient, need-inured. 
Worship, and reverend sires : with them from earth 
Departing Justice her last footprints left. 

Me before all things may the Muses sweet, 
Whose rites I bear with mighty passion pierced. 
Receive, and show the paths arid stars of heaven, 
The sun's eclipses and the labouring moons, 

479-498 GEORGIC IL 57 

From whence the . earthquake, by what power the 

Swell from their depths, and, every barrier burst, 
Sink back upon themselves, why winter-suns 
So haste to dip 'neath ocean, or what check 
The lingering night retards. But if to these 
High realms of nature the cold curdling blood 
About my heart bar access, then be fields 
And stream-washed vales my solace, let me love 
Rivers and woods, inglorious. Oh for you 
Plains, and Spercheius, and Taygete, 
By Spartan maids o'er-revelled ! Oh, for one, 
Would set me in deep dells of Haemus cool. 
And shield me with his boughs* overshadowing might I 
Happy was he, who skilled to understand 
Nature's hid causes, and beneath his feet 
All terrors cast, and death's relentless doom, 
And the loud roar of greedy Acheron. 
Blest too is he who knows the rural gods. 
Pan, old Silvanus, and the sister-nymphs ! 
Him nor the rods of public power can bend, 
Nor kingly purple, nor fierce feud that drives 
Brother to turn on brother, nor descent 
Of Dacian from the Danube's leagued flood. 
Nor Rome's great State, nor kingdoms like to die ; 

58 GEORGIC 11. 499-517 

Nor hath he grieved through pitying of the poor, 

Nor envied him that hath. What fruit the boughs, 

And what the fields, of their own bounteous will 

Have borne, he gathers ; nor iron rule of laws. 

Nor maddened Forum have his eyes beheld. 

Nor archives of the people. Others vex 

The darksome gulfs of Ocean with their oars. 

Or rush on steel : they press within the courts 

And doors of princes ; one with havoc falls 

Upon a city and its hapless hearths, 

From gems to drink, on Tyrian rugs to lie ; 

This hoards his wealth and broods o'er buried gold ; 

One at the rostra stares in blank amaze ; 

One gaping sits transported by the cheers, 

The answering cheers of plebs and senate rolled 

Along the benches : bathed in brothers' blood 

Men revel, and, all delights of hearth and home 

For exile changing, a new country seek 

Beneath an alien sun. The husbandman 

With hooked ploughshare turns the soil ; from hence 

Springs his year's labour ; hence, too, he sustains 

Country and cottage homestead, and from hence 

His herds of cattle and deserving steers. 

No respite ! still the year o'erflows with fruit. 

Or young of kine, or Ceres' wheaten sheaf, 

518-538 GEORGIC 11. 59 

With crops the furrow loads, and bursts the barns. 

Winter is come : in olive-mills they bruise 

The Sicyonian berry ; acorn-cheered 

The swine troop homeward ; woods their arbutes 

yield ; 
So, various fruit sheds Autumn, and high up 
On sunny rocks the mellowing vintage bakes. 
Meanwhile about his lips sweet children cling ; 
His chaste house keeps its purity ; his kine 
Drop milky udders, and on the lush green grass 
Fat kids are striving, horn to butting horn. 
Himself keeps holy days ; stretched o'er the sward, 
Where round the fire his comrades crown the bowl, 
He pours libation, and thy name invokes, 
Lenaeus, and for the herdsmen on an elm 
Sets up a mark for the swift javelin ; they 
Strip their tough bodies for the rustic sport. 
Such life of yore the ancient Sabines led, 
Such Remus and his brother : Etruria thus, 
Doubt not, to greatness grew, and Rome became 
The fair world's fairest, and with circling wall 
Clasped to her single breast the sevenfold hills. 
Ay, ere the reign of Dicte's king, ere men, 
Waxed godless, banqueted on slaughtered bulls, 
Such life on earth did golden Saturn lead. 

6o GEORGIC IL 539*542 

Nor ear of man had heard the war-trump's blast, 
Nor clang of sword on stubborn anvil set. 

But lo ! a boundless space we've travelled o'er ; 
'Tis time our steaming horses to unyoke. 



Thee, mighty Pales, too, Til hymn, and thee, 

Amphrysian shepherd, worthy to be sung. 

You, woods and waves Lycaean. All themes beside, 

Which else had charmed the vacant mind with song. 

Are now waxed common. Of harsh Eurystheus who 

The story knows not, or that praiseless king 

Busiris, and his altars ? or by whom 

Hath not the tale been told of Hylas young, 

Latonian Delos and Hippodame, 

And Pelops for his ivory shoulder famed, 

Keen charioteer ? A path must be essayed. 

By which I too may lift me from the dust, 

And float triumphant through the mouths of men. 

Yea, I shall be the first, so life endure, 

To lead the Muses with me, as I pass 

To mine own country from the Aonian height ; 

I, Mantua, first will bring thee back the palms 

Of Idumaea, and raise a marble shrine 

On thy green plain fast by the water-side, 

64 GEORGIC III. 14.34 

Where Mincius winds more vast in lazy coils, 

And rims his margent with the tender reed. 

Amid my shrine shall Caesar's godhead dwell. 

To him will I, as victor, bravely dight 

In Tyrian purple, drive along the bank 

A hundred four-horse cars. All Greece for me. 

Leaving Alphcus and Molorchus' grove. 

On foot shall strive, or with the raw-hide glove ; 

Whilst I, my head with stripped green olive crowned. 

Will offer gifts. E'en now 'tis present joy 

To lead the high processions to the fane. 

And view the victims felled ; or how the scene 

Sunders with shifted face, and Britain's sons 

Inwoven thereon with those proud curtains rise. 

Of gold and massive ivory on the doors 

I'll trace the battle of the Gangarides, 

And our Quirinus' conquering arms, and there 

Surging with war, and hugely flowing, the Nile, 

And columns heaped on high with naval brass. 

And Asia's vanquished cities I will add. 

And quelled Niphates, and the Parthian foe. 

Who trusts in flight and backward-volleying darts. 

And trophies torn with twice triumphant hand 

From empires twain on ocean's cither shore. \ 

And breathing forms of Parian marble there ^ J 

34-54 GEORGIC III. 65 

Shall stand, the offspring of Assaracus, 

And great names of the Jove-descended folk, 

And father Tros, and Troy's first founder, lord 

Of Cynthus. And accursed Envy there 

Shall dread the Furies, and thy ruthless flood, 

Cocytus, and Ixion's twisted snakes, 

And that vast wheel and ever- baffling stone. 

Meanwhile the Dryad-haunted woods and lawns 

Unsullied seek we ; *tis thy hard behest, 

Maecenas. Without thee no lofty task 

My mind essays. Up ! break the sluggish bonds 

Of tarriance ; with loud din Cithaeron calls. 

Steed-taming Epidaurus, and thy hounds, 

Taygete ; and hark ! the assenting groves 

With peal on peal reverberate the roar. 

Yet must I gird me to rehearse ere long 

The fiery fights of Caesar, speed his name 

Through ages, countless as to Caesar's self 

From the first birth-dawn of Tithonus old. 

If eager for the prized Olympian palm 
One breeds the horse, or bullock strong to plough, 
Be his prime care a shapely dam to choose. 
Of kine grim-faced is goodliest, with coarse head 
And burly neck, whose hanging dewlaps reach 
From chin to knee ; of boundless length her flank ; 

66 GEORGIC III, 54-74 

Large every way she is, large-footed even. 

With incurved horns and shaggy ears beneath. 

Nor let mislike me one with spots of white 

Conspicuous, or that spurns the yoke, whose horn 

At times hath vice in't : liker bull-faced she. 

And tall-limbed wholly, and with tip of tail 

Brushing her footsteps as she walks along. 

The age for Hymen's rites, Lucina's pangs. 

Ere ten years ended, after four begins ; 

Their residue of days nor apt to teem. 

Nor strong for ploughing. Meantime, while youth's 

Survives within them, loose the males : be first 
To speed thy herds of cattle to their loves, 
Breed stock with stock, and keep the race supplied. 
Ah ! life's best hours are ever first .to flv 
From hapless mortals ; in their place succeed 
Disease and dolorous eld ; till travail sore 
And death unpitying sweep them from the scene. 
Still will be some, whose form thou fain wouldst change ; 
Renew them still ; with yearly choice of young 
Preventing losses, lest too late thou rue. 

Nor steeds crave less selection ; but on those. 
Thou think' st to rear the promise of their line, 
From earliest youth thy chiefest pains bestow. 

75-97 GEORGIC IIL 67 

See from the first yon high-bred colt afield, 
His lofty step, his limbs* elastic tread ; 
Dauntless he leads the herd, still first to try 
The threatening flood, or brave the unknown bridge, 
By no vain noise affrighted ; lofty-necked. 
With clean-cut head, short belly, and stout back ; 
His sprightly breast exuberant with brawn. 
Chestnut and grey are good ; the worst-hued white 
And sorrel. Then lo ! if arms are clashed afar. 
Bide still he cannot : ears stiflfen and limbs quake ; 
His nostrils snort and roll out wreaths of fire. 
Dense is his mane, that when uplifted falls 
On his right shoulder ; betwixt either loin 
The spine runs double ; his earth-dinting hoof 
Rings with the ponderous beat of solid horn. 
E*en such a horse was Cyllarus, reined and tamed 
By Pollux of Amyclae ; such the pair 
In Grecian song renowned, those steeds of Mars, 
And famed Achilles* team : in such-like form 
Great Saturn*s self with mane flung loose on neck 
Sped at his wife's approach, and flying filled 
The heights of Pelion with his piercing neigh. 
Even him, when sore disease or sluggish eld 
Now saps his strength, pen fast at home, and spare 
His not inglorious age. A horse grown old 


68 GEORGIC III, 97- n? 

Slow kindling unto love in vain prolongs 

The fruitless task, and, to the encounter come, 

As fire in stubble blusters without strength, 

He rages idly. Therefore mark thou first 

Their age and mettle, other points anon, 

As breed and lineage, or what pain was theirs 

To lose the race, what pride the palm to win. 

Seest how the chariots in mad rivalry 

Poured from the barrier grip the course and go, 

When youthful hope is highest, and every heart 

Drained with each wild pulsation ? How they ply 

The circling lash, and reaching forward let 

The reins hang free ! Swift spins the glowing wheel ; 

And now they stoop, and now erect in air 

Seem borne through space and towering to the sky : 

No stop, no stay ; the dun sand whirls aloft ; 

They reek with foam-flakes and pursuing breath ; 

So sweet is fame, so prized the victor's palm. 

'Twas Ericthonius first took heart to yoke 

Four horses to his car, and rode above 

The whirling wheels to victory : but the ring 

And bridle-reins, mounted on horses' backs, 

The Pelethronian Lapithae bequeathed, 

And taught the knight in arms to spurn the ground. 

And heap the prancing footsteps of his pride. 

118-137 GEORGIC III. 6.j 

Each task alike is arduous, and for each 

A horse young, fiery, swift of foot, they seek ; 

How oft so e'er yon rival may have chased 

The flying foe, or boast his native plain 

Epirus, or Mycenae's stubborn hold. 

And trace his lineage back to Neptune's birth. 

These points regarded, as the time draws nigh, 
With instant zeal they lavish all their care 
To plump with solid fat the chosen chief 
And designated husband of the herd : 
And flowery herbs they cut, and serve him well 
With corn and running water, that his strength 
Not fail him for that labour of delight, 
Nor puny colts betray the feeble sire. 
The herd itself of purpose they reduce. 
To leanness, and when love's sweet longing first 
Provokes them, they forbid the leafy food, 
And pen them from the springs, and oft beside 
With running shake, and tire them in the sun. 
What time the threshing-floor groans heavily 
With pounding of the corn-ears, and light chaff" 
Is whirled on high to catch the rising west. 
This do they that the soil's prolific powers 
May not be dulled by surfeiting, nor choke .,^ 

The sluggish furrows, but eagerly absorb 

70 GEORGIC III. i 37- 1 57 

Their fill of love, and deeply entertain. 

To care of sire the mother's care succeeds. 
When great with young they wander nigh their time. 
Let no man suflfer them to drag the yoke 
In heavy wains, nor leap across the way. 
Nor scour the meads, nor swim the rushing flood. 
In lonely lawns they feed them, by the course 
Of brimming streams, where moss is, and the banks 
With grass are greenest, where are sheltering caves. 
And far outstretched the "rock-fluiig shadow lies. 
Round wooded Silarus and the ilex-bowers 
Of green Alburnus swarms a winged pest — 
Its Roman name Asilus, by the Greeks 
Turned CEstros — fierce it is, and harshly hums. 
Driving whole herds in terror through the groves. 
Till heaven is madded by their bellowing din. 
And Tanager's dry bed and forest-banks. 
With this same scourge did Juno wreak of old 
The terrors of her wrath, a plague devised 
Against the heifer sprung from Inachus. 
From this too thou, for in the noontide heats 
'Tis most persistent, fend thy teeming herds. 
And feed them when the sun is newly risen, 
Or the first stars are ushering in the night. 

But, yeaning ended, all their tender care 

157-178 GEORGIC II L 71 

Is to the calves transferred ; at once with marks 
They brand them, both to designate their race, 
And which to rear for breeding, or devote 
As altar- victims, or to cleave the ground, 
And into ridges tear and turn the sod. 
The rest along the greensward graze at will. 
Those that to rustic uses thou wouldst mould. 
As calves encourage and take steps to tame, 
While pliant wills and plastic youth allow. 
And first of slender withies round the throat 
Loose collars hane^, then when their free- bom necks 
Are used to service, with the self- same bands 
Yoke them in pairs, and steer by steer compel 
Keep pace together. And time it is that oft 
Unfreighted wheels be drawn along the ground 
Behind them, as to dint the surface-dust ; 
Then let the beechen axle strain and creak 
'Neath some stout burden, whilst a brazen pole 
Drags on the wheels made fast thereto. Meanwhile 
For their unbroken youth not grass alone, 
Nor meagre willow-leaves and marish-sedge, 
But with thy hand pluck corn-ears from the crops. 
Nor shall the brood-kine, as of yore, for thee 
Brim high the snowy milking-pail, but spend 
Their udders* fulness on their own sweet young. 

72 GEORGIC III. 179-198 

But if fierce squadrons and the ranks of war 
Delight thee rather, or on wheels to glide 
At Pisa, with Alpheus fleeting by, 
And in the grove of Jupiter urge on 
The flying chariot, be your steed's first task 
To face the warrior's arm^d rage, and brook 
The trumpet, and long roar of rumbling wheels, 
And clink of chiming bridles in the stall ; 
Then more and more to love his master's voice 
Caressing, or loud hand that claps his neck. 
Ay, thus far let him learn to dare, when first 
Weaned from his mother, and his mouth at times 
Yield to the supple halter, even while yet 
Weak, tottering-limbed, and ignorant of life. 
But, three years ended, when the fourth arrives, 
Now let him tarry not to run the ring 
With rhythmic hoofbeat, and now learn to ply 
The sinuous alternation of his legs, 
And be like one that struggleth ; then at last 
Challenge the winds to race him, and at speed 
Launched through the open, like a reinless thing. 
Scarce print his footsteps on the surface-sand. 
As when with power from Hyperborean climes 
The north wind stoops, and scatters from his path 
Dry clouds and storms of Scythia ; the tall corn 

198-219 GEORGIC III. 73 

And rippling plains 'gin shiver with light gusts ; 
A sound is heard among the forest-tops ; 
Long waves come racing shoreward : fast he flies, 
With instant pinion sweeping earth and main. 

A steed like this or on the mighty course 
Of Elis at the goal will sweat, and shower 
Red foam-flakes from his mouth, or, kindlier task, 
With patient neck support the Belgian car. 
Then, broken at last, let swell their burly frame 
With fattening corn-mash, for, unbroke, too high 
'Twill heap their pride up, and, though caught, they'll scorn 
Tough lash to brook or jagged curb obey. 

But no device so fortifies their power 
As love's blind stings of passion to forefend. 
Whether on steed or steer thy choice be set. 
Ay, therefore 'tis they banish bulls afar 
To solitary pastures, or behind 
Some mountain-barrier, or broad streams beyond, 
•Or else in plenteous stalls pen fast at home. 
For, even thro' sight of her, the female wastes 
His strength with smouldering fire, till he forget 
Both grass and woodland. She indeed full oft 
With her sweet charms can lovers proud compel 
To battle for the conquest horn to horn. 
In Sila's forest feeds the heifer fair, 

7+ GEORGIC III. 220-240 

While each on each the furious rivals run ; 

Wound follows wound ; the black blood laves their limbs ; 

Horns push and strive against opposing horns, 

With mighty groaning ; all the forest-side 

And far Olympus bellow back the roar. 

Nor wont the champions in one stall to couch ; 

But he that's worsted hies him to strange climes 

Far off, an exile, moaning much the shame, 

The blows of that proud conqueror, then love's loss 

Avenged not ; with one glance toward the byre. 

His ancient royalties behind him lie. 

So with all heed his strength he practiseth. 

And nightlong makes the hard bare stones his bed, 

And feeds on prickly leaf and pointed rush, 

And proves himself, and butting at a tree 

Learns to fling wrath into his horns, with blows 

Provokes the air, and scattering clouds of sand 

Makes prelude of the battle, afterward. 

With strength repaired and gathered might breaks camp,. 

And hurls him headlong on the unthinking foe : 

As in mid ocean when a wave far oiF 

Begins to whiten, mustering from the main 

Its rounded breast, and, onward rolled to land 

Falls with prodigious roar among the rocks. 

Huge as a very mountain : but the depths 

240-261 GEORGIC III. 75 

Upseethe in swirling eddies, and disgorge 
The murky sand-lees from their sunken bed. 

Nay, every race on earth of men, and beasts. 
And ocean-folk, and flocks, and painted birds. 
Rush to the raging fire : love sways them all. 
Never than then more fiercely o'er the plain 
Prowls heedless of her whelps the lioness : 
Nor monstrous bears such wide-spread havoc-doom 
Deal through the forests ; then the boar is fierce. 
Most deadly then the tigress : then, alack ! 
Ill roaming is it on Libya's lonely plains. 
Mark you what shivering thrills the horse's frame. 
If but a waft the well-known gust conveys ? 
Nor curb can check them then, nor lash severe, 
Nor rocks and caverned crags, nor barrier-floods. 
That rend and whirl and wash the hills away. 
Then speeds amain the great Sabellian boar. 
His tushes whets, with forefoot tears the ground. 
Rubs 'gainst a tree his flanks, and to and fro 
Hardens each wallowing shoulder to the wound. 
What of the youth, when love's relentless might 
Stirs the fierce fire within his veins ? Behold ! 
In blindest midnight how he swims the gulf 
. Convulsed with bursting storm-clouds ! Over him 
Heaven's huge gate thunders ; the rock-shattered main 

76 GEORGIC IIL 261-281 

Utters a warning cry ; nor parents' tears 

Can backward call him, nor the maid he loves. 

Too soon to die on his untimely pyre. 

What of the spotted ounce to Bacchus dear, 

Or warlike wolfkin or the breed of dogs ? 

Why tell how timorous stags the battle join ? 

0*er all conspicuous is the rage of mares, 

By Venus' self inspired of old, what time 

The Potnian four with rending jaws devoured 

The limbs of Glaucus. Love-constrained they roam 

Past Gargarus, past the loud Ascanian flood ; 

They climb the mountains, and the torrents swim ; 

And when their eager marrow first conceives 

The fire, in spring-tide chiefly, for with spring 

Warmth doth their frames revisit, then they stand 

All facing westward on the rocky heights. 

And of the gentle breezes take their fill ; 

And oft unmated, marvellous to tell. 

But of the wind impregnate, far and wide 

O'er craggy height and lowly vale they scud, 

Not toward thy rising, Eurus, or the sun's, 

Boreas, or Caurus or black Auster's birth, 

That glooms the face of heaven with rainy cold. 

Hence from their groin slow drips a poisonous juice, 

Ey shepherds truly named hippomanes. 

282-304 GEORGIC III. 77 

llippomanes, fell stepdames oft have culled, 
And mixed with herbs and spells of baneful bode. 

Fast flies meanwhile the irreparable hour, 
As point to point our charmed round we trace. 
Enough of herds. This second task remains. 
The wool-clad flocks and shaggy goats to treat. 
Here lies a labour ; hence for glory look, 
firave husbandmen. Nor doubtfully know I 
How hard it is for words to triumph here. 
And shed their lustre on a theme so slight : 
But I am caught by ravishing desire 
Above the lone Parnassian steep ; I love 
To walk the heights, from whence no earlier track 
Slopes gently downward to Castalia's spring. 

Now, awful Pales, strike a louder tone. 
First, for the sheep soft pencotes I decree 
To browse in, till green summer's swift return ; 
And that the hard earth under them with straw 
And handfuls of the fern be littered deep. 
Lest chill of ice such tender cattle harm 
With scab and loathly foot-rot. Passing thence 
I bid the goats with arbute-leaves be stored, 
And served with fresh spring-water, and their pens 
Turned southward from the blast, to face the suns 
Of winter, when Aquarius* icy beam 

78 GEORGIC III, 304-325 

Now sinks in showers upon the parting year. 
These too no lightlier our protection claim, 
Nor prove of poorer service, howsoe'er 
Milesian fleeces dipped in Tyrian reds 
Repay the barterer ; these with offspring teem 
More numerous ; these yield plenteous store of milk : 
The more each dry-wrung udder froths the pail, 
More copious soon the teat-pressed torrents flow. 
Ay, and on Cinyps* bank the he-goats too 
Their beards and grizzled chins and bristling hair 
Let clip for camp-use, or as rugs to wrap 
Seafaring wretches. But they browse the woods 
And summits of Lycaeus, and rough briars. 
And brakes that love the highland : of themselves 
Right heedfully the she-goats homeward troop 
Before their kids, and with plump udders clogged 
Scarce cross the threshold. Wherefore rather ye. 
The less they crave man's vigilance, be fain 
From ice to fend them and from snowy winds ; 
Bring food and feast them with their branchy fare. 
Nor lock your hay-loft all the winter long. 

But when glad summer at the west wind's call 
Sends either flock to pasture in the glades. 
Soon as the day-star shineth, hie we then 
To the cool meadows, while the dawn is young. 

325-346 GEORGIC III. 79 

The grass yet hoary, and to browsing herds 

The dew tastes sweetest on the tender sward. 

When heaven's fourth hour draws on the thickening 

And shrill cicalas pierce the brake with song, 
Then at the well-springs bid them, or deep pools. 
From troughs of holm-oak quaff the running wave : 
But at day's hottest seek a shadowy vale. 
Where some vast ancient-timbered oak of Jove 
Spreads his huge branches, or where huddling black 
Ilex on ilex cowers in awful shade. 
Then once more give them water sparingly. 
And feed once more, till sunset, when cool eve 
Allays the air, and dewy moonbeams slake 
The forest glades, with halcyon's song the shore. 
And every thicket with the goldfinch rings. 

Of Libya's shepherds why the tale pursue ? 
Why sing their pastures and the scattered huts 
They house in ? Oft their cattle day and night 
Graze the whole month together, and go forth 
Into far deserts where no shelter is. 
So fiat the plain and boundless. All his goods 
The Afric swain bears with him, house and home, 
Arms, Cretan quiver, and Amyclaean dog ; 
As some keen Roman in his country's arms 

So GEORGIC III. 347-368 

, ■ ■ _ ■■ — — — 

Plies the swift march beneath a cruel load ; 

Soon with tents pitched and at his post he stands, 

Ere looked for by the foe. Not thus the tribes 

Of Scythia by the far Maeotic wave, 

Where turbid Ister whirls his yellow sands, 

And Rhodope stretched out beneath the pole 

Comes trending backward. There the herds they keep 

Close-pent in byres, nor any grass is seen 

Upon the plain, nor leaves upon the tree : 

But with snow-ridges and deep frost afar 

Heaped seven ells high the earth lies featureless : 

Still winter ! still the north wind's icy breath ! 

Nay, never sun disparts the shadows pale, 

Or as he rides the steep of heaven, or dips 

In ocean's fiery bath his plunging car. 

Quick ice-crusts curdle on the running stream, 

And iron-hooped wheels the water's back now bears. 

To broad wains opened, as ere while to ships ; 

Brass vessels oft asunder burst, and clothes 

Stiffen upon the wearers ; juicy wines 

They cleave with axes ; to one frozen mass 

Whole pools are turned ; and on their untrimmed beards 

Stiff clings the jagged icicle. Meanwhile 

All heaven no less is filled with falling snow ; 

The cattle perish : oxen's mighty frames 

368.390 GEORGIC III. 81 

Stand island-like amid the frost, and stags 
In huddling herds, by that strange weight benumbed, 
Scarce top the surface with their antler-points. 
These with no hounds they hunt, nor net with toils, 
Nor scare with terror of the crimson plume ; 
But, as in vain they breast the opposing block, 
Butcher them, knife in hand, and so despatch 
Loud-bellowing, and with glad shouts hale them home. 
Themselves in deep-dug caverns underground 
Dwell free and careless ; to their hearths they heave 
Oak-logs and elm-trees whole, and fire them there. 
There play the night out, and in festive glee 
With barm and service sour the wine- cup mock. 
So 'neath the seven-starred Hyperborean wain 
The folk live tameless, buffeted with blasts 
Of Eurus from Rhipaean hills, and wrap 
Their bodies in the tawny fells of beasts. 

If wool delight thee, first, be far removed 
All prickly boskage, burrs and caltrops ; shun 
Luxuriant pastures ; at the outset choose 
White flocks with downy fleeces. For the ram. 
How white soe'er himself, be but the tongue 
'Neaih his moist palate black, reject him, lest 
He sully with dark spots his off*spring*s fleece, 
And seek some other o*er the teeming plain. 



E'en with such snowy bribe of wool, if ear 
May trust the tale, Pan God of Arcady 
Snared and beguiled thee, Luna, calling thee 
To the deep woods ; nor thou didst spurn his call. 

But who for milk hath longing, must himself 
Bring Cytisus and lotus-leaves enow 
With salt herbs to the cote, whence more they love 
The streams, more stretch their udders, and give back 
A subtle taste of saltness in the milL 
Many there be who from their mothers keep 
The new-bom kids, and straightway bind their mouths 
With iron-tipped muzzles. What they milk at dawn. 
Or in the daylight hours, at night they press ; 
What darkling or at sunset, this ere morn 
They bear away in baskets — for to town 
The shepherd hies him — or with dash of salt 
Just sprinkle, and lay by for winter use. 

Nor be thy dogs last cared for ; but alike 
Swift Spartan hounds and fierce Molossian feed 
On fattening whey. Never, with these to watch, 
Dread nightly thief afold and ravening wolves. 
Or Spanish desperadoes in the rear. 
And oft the shy wild asses thou wilt chase. 
With hounds, too, hunt the hare, with hounds the doe ; 
Oft from his woodland wallowing-den uprouse 


The boar, and scare him with their baying, and drive. 
And o*er the mountains urge into the toils 
Some antlered monster to their chiming cry. 

Learn also scented cedar- wood to burn 
Within the stalls, and snakes of noxious smell 
With fumes of galbanum to drive away. 
Oft under long-neglected cribs or lurks 
A viper ill to handle, that hath fled 
The light in terror ; or some snake, that wont 
'Neath shade and sheltering roof to creep, and shower 
Its bane among the cattle, hugs the ground. 
Fell scourge of kine. Shepherd, seize stakes, sei^e 

stones ! 
And as he rears defiance, and puffs out 
A hissing throat, down with him ! see how low 
That cowering crest is vailed in flight, the while. 
His midmost coils and final sweep of tail 
Relaxing, the last fold drags lingering spires. 
Then that vile worm that in Calabrian glades 
Uprears his breast, and wreathes a scaly back, 
His length of belly pied with mighty spots — 
While from their founts gush any streams, while yet 
With showers of spring and rainy south winds earth 
Is moistened, lo ! he haunts the pools, and here 
Housed in the banks, with fish and chattering frogs 

84 GEORGIC III. 43i-45i 

Crams the black void of his insatiate maw. 

Soon as the fens are parched, and earth with heat 

Is gaping, forth he darts into the dry. 

Rolls eyes of fire and rages through the fields, 

Furious from thirst and by the drought dismayed. 

Me list not then beneath the open heaven 

To snatch soft slumber, nor on forest-ridge 

Lie stretched along the grass, when, slipped his slough. 

To glittering youth transformed he winds his spires. 

And eggs or younglings leaving in his lair. 

Towers sunward, lightening with three-forked tongue. 

Of sickness, too, the causes and the signs 
ril teach thee. Loathly scab assails the sheep. 
When chilly showers have probed them to the quick. 

And winter stark with hoar-frost, or when sweat 
Unpurged cleaves to them after shearing done. 
And rough thorns rend their bodies. Hence it is 
Shepherds their whole flock steep in running streams. 
While, plunged beneath the flood, with drenched fell. 
The ram, launched free, goes drifting down the tide. 
Else, having shorn, they smear their bodies o*er 
With acrid oil-lees, and mix silver-scum 
And native sulphur and Idaean pitch, 
Wax mollified with ointment, and therewith 
Sea-leek, strong hellebores, bitumen black. 

4t5^'4t7^ GEORGIC III. 85 

Yet ne*er doth kindlier fortune crown his toil, 
Than if, with blade of iron a man dare lance 
The ulcer's mouth ope : for the taint is fed 
And quickened by confinement ; while the swain 
His hand of healing from the wound withholds, 
Or sits for happier signs imploring heaven. 
Ay, and when inward to the bleater's bones 
The pain hath sunk and rages, and their limbs 
By thirsty fever are consumed, 'tis good 
To draw the enkindled heat therefrom, and pierce 
Within the hoof- clefts a blood-bounding vein. 
Of tribes Bisaltic such the wonted use, 
And keen Gelonian, when to Rhodope 
He flies, or Getic desert, and quaffs milk 
With horse-blood curdled. 

Seest one far afield 
Oft to the shade's mild covert win, or pull 
The grass tops listlessly, or hindmost lag, 
Or, browsing, cast her down amid the plain, 
At night retire belated and alone ; 
With quick knife check the mischief, ere it creep 
With dire contagion through the unwary herd. 
Less thick and fast the whirlwind scours the main 
With tempest in its wake, than swarm the plagues 
Of cattle ; nor seize they single lives alone. 

86 GEORGIC' III. 472-492 

But sudden clear whole feeding grounds, the flock 
With all its promise, and extirpate the breed. 
Well would he trow it who, so long after, still 
High Alps and Noric hill-forts should behold. 
And lapydian Timavus' fields. 
Ay still behold the shepherds' realms a waste. 
And far and wide the lawns untenanted. 

Here from distempered heavens erewhile arose 
A piteous season, with the full fierce heat 
Of autumn glowed, and cattle-kindreds all 
And all wild creatures to destruction gave, 
Tainted the pools, the fodder charged with bane. 
Nor simple was the way of death, but when 
Hot thirst through every vein impelled had drawn 
Their wretched limbs together, anon o'erflowed 
A watery flux, and all their bones piecemeal 
Sapped by corruption to itself absorbed. 
Oft in, mid sacrifice to heaven — the white 
Wool-woven fillet half wreathed about his brow — 
Some victim, standing by the altar, there 
Betwixt the loitering carles a-dying fell : 
Or, if betimes the slaughtering priest had struck. 
Nor with its heaped entrails blazed the pile, 
Nor seer to seeker thence could answer yield ; 
Nay, scarce the up-stabbing knife with blood was stained. 

493-5H GEORGIC III. 87 

Scarce sullied with thin gore the surface-sand. 
Hence die the calves in many a pasture fair, 
Or at full cribs their lives* sweet breath resign ; 
Hence on the fawning dog comes madness, hence 
Racks the sick swine a gasping cough that chokes 
With swelling at the jaws : the conquering steed, 
Uncrowned of effort and heedless of the sward, 
Faints, turns him from the springs, and paws the earth 
With ceaseless hoof : low droop his ears, wherefrom 
Bursts fitful sweat, a sweat that waxes cold 
Upon the dying beast ; the skin is dry, 
And rigidly repels the handler's touch. 
These earlier signs they give that presage doom. 
But, if the advancing plague 'gin fiercer grow, 
Then are their eyes all fire, deep-drawn their breath. 
At times groan-laboured : with long sobbing heave 
Their lowest flanks ; from either nostril streams 
Black blood ; a rough tongue clogs the obstructed jaws. 
'Twas helpful through inverted horn to pour 
Draughts of the wine-god down ; sole way it seemed 
To save the dying : soon this too proved their bane. 
And, reinvigorate but with frenzy's fire, 
Even at death's pinch — the gods some happier fate 
Deal to the just, such madness to their foes — 
Each with bared teeth his own limbs mangling tore. 

88 GEORGIC III. 515-536 

See ! as he smokes beneath the stubborn share, 
The bull drops, vomiting foam-dabbled gore, 
And heaves his latest groans. Sad goes the swain, 
Unhooks the steer that mourns his fellow's fate, 
And in mid labour leaves the plough-gear fast. 
Nor tall wood's shadow, nor soft sward may stir 
That heart's emotion, nor rock-channelled flood, 
More pure than amber speeding to the plain : 
But see ! his flanks fail under him, his eyes 
Are dulled with deadly torpor, and his neck 
Sinks to the earth with drooping weight. What now 
Besteads him toil or service ? to have turned 
The heavy sod with ploughshare ? And yet these 
Ne'er knew the Massic wine-god's baneful boon, 
Nor twice replenished banquets:, but; on leaves i . 
They fare, and virgin grasses, and their cups 
Are crystal springs and streams with running tired, 
Their healthful slumbers never broke by care. 
Then only, say they, through that coimtry side 
For Juno's rites were cattle far to seek, 
And ill-matched buffaloes the chariots drew 
To their high fanes. So, painfully with rakes 
They grub the soil, ay, with their very nails 
Dig in the corn-seeds, and with strained neck 
O'er the high uplands drag the creaking wains. 

537-558 GEORGIC III. 89 

No wolf for ambush pries about the pen, 

Nor round the flock prowls nightly ; pain more sharp 

Subdues him : the shy deer and fleet-foot stags 

With hounds now wander by the haunts of men. 

Vast ocean's offspring, and all tribes that swim, 

On the shore's confine the wave washes up. 

Like shipwrecked bodies : seals, unwonted there, 

Flee to the rivers. Now the viper dies, 

For all his den's close winding, and with scales 

Erect the astonied water-worms. The air 

Brooks not the very birds, that headlong fall. 

And leave their life beneath the soaring cloud. 

Moreover now nor change of fodder serves. 

And subtlest cures but injure ; then were foiled 

The masters, Chiron sprung from Phillyron, 

And Amythaon's son Melampus. See ! 

From Stygian darkness launched into the light 

Comes raging pale Tisiphone ; she drives 

Disease and fear before her, day by day 

Still rearing higher that all-devouring head. 

With bleat of flocks and lowings thick resound 

Rivers and parched banks and sloping heights. 

At last in crowds she slaughters them, she chokes 

The very stalls with carrion-heaps that rot 

In hideous corruption, till men learn 

go GEORGIC III. 558-566 

With earth to cover them, in pits to hide. 
For e'en the fells were useless ; nor the flesh 
With water might they purge, or tame with fire. 
Nor shear the fleeces even, ate through and through 
With foul disease, nor touch the putrid webs ; 
But, had one dared the loathly weeds to try. 
Red blisters and an unclean sweat o'erran 
The noisome limbs, till, no long tarriance made. 
The fiery curse his tainted frame devoured. 


GEORGIC IV. 1-16. 

Next heaven-born honey, gift of Gods, I'll'sing : 
Once more, Maecenas, smile upon my task. 
The wondrous workings of a tiny world, 
High-hearted chiefs, a nation's history. 
Its traits, its bent, its battles and its clans. 
All, each, shall pass before you, while I sing. 
Slight though the poet's theme, not slight the praise,. 
So frown not heaven, and Phoebus hear his call. 

First find your bees a settled sure abode. 
Where neither winds can enter (winds blow back 
The foragers with food returning home) 
Nor sheep and butting kids tread down the flowers. 
Nor heifer wandering wide upon the plain 
Dash off the dew, and bruise the springing blades. 
Let the gay lizard too keep far aloof 
His scale-clad body from their honied stalls, 
And the bee-eater, and what birds beside^ 
And Procne smirched with blood upon the breast 
From her own murderous hands. For these roam wide 

94 GEORGIC IV. 16-36 

Wasting all substance, or the bees themselves 

Strike flying, and in their beaks bear home, to glut 

Those savage nestlings with the dainty prey. 

But let clear springs and moss-green pools be near, 

And through the grass a streamlet hurrying run. 

Some palm-tree o*er the porch extend its shade. 

Or huge-grown oleaster, that in spring, 

Their own sweet spring-tide, when chiefs 

Lead forth the young swarms, and, escaped their comb, 

The colony comes forth to sport and play. 

The neighbouring bank may lure them from the heat, 

Or bough befriend with hospitable shade. 

0*er the mid-waters, whether swift or still, 

Cast willow-branches and big stones enow, 

Bridge after bridge, where they may footing find 

And spread their wide wings to the summer sun. 

If haply Eurus, swooping as they pause. 

Have dashed with spray or plunged them in the deep. 

And let green cassias and far-scented thymes, 

And savory with its heavy-laden breath 

Bloom round about, and violet-beds hard by 

Sip sweetness from the fertilizing springs. 

For the hive's self, or stitched of hollow bark. 

Or from tough osier woven, let the doors 

Be strait of entrance ; for stiff winter's cold 

36-55 GEORGIC IV, 95 

Congeals the honey, and heat resolves and thaws, 

To bees alike disastrous ; not for naught 

So haste they to cement the tiny pores 

That pierce their walls, and fill the crevices 

With pollen from the flowers, and glean and keep 

To this same end the glue, that binds more fast 

Than bird-lime or the pitch from Ida's pines. 

Oft too in burrowed holes, if fame be true. 

They make their cosy subterranean home, 

And deeply lodged in hollow rocks are found. 

Or in the cavern of an age-hewn tree. 

Thou not the less smear round their crannied cribs 

With warm smooth mud-coat, and strew leaves above ; 

But near their home let neither yew-tree grow, 

Nor reddening crabs be roasted, and mistrust 

Deep marish-ground and mire with noisome smell, 

Or where the hollow rocks sonorous ring. 

And the word spoken buffets and rebounds. 

What more ? When now the golden sun has put 
Winter to headlong flight beneath the world, 
And oped the doors of heaven with summer ray. 
Forthwith they roam the glades and forests o'er. 
Rifle the painted flowers, or sip the streams. 
Light-hovering on the surface. Hence it is 
With some sweet rapture, that we know not of. 

96 GEORGIC IV. • 56-75 

Their little ones they foster, hence with skill 
Work out new wax or clinging honey mould. 
So when the cage-escaped hosts you see 
Float heavenward through the hot clear air, until 
You marvel at yon dusky cloud that spreads 
And lengthens on the wind, then mark them well ; 
For then 'tis ever the fresh spirngs they seek 
And bowery shelter: hither must you bring 
The savoury sweets I bid, and sprinkle them, 
Bruised balsam and the wax-flower's lowly weed. 
And wake and shake the tinkling cymbals heard 
By the great Mother : on the anointed spots 
Themselves will settle, and in wonted wise 
Seek of themselves the cradle's inmost depth. 

But if to battle they have hied them forth — 
For oft 'twixt king and king with uproar dire 
Fierce feud arises, and at once from far 
You may discern what passion sways the mob. 
And how their hearts are throbbing for the strife ; 
Hark ! the hoarse brazen note that warriors know 
Chides on the loiterers, and the ear may catch 
A sound that mocks the war-trump's broken blasts ; 
Then in hot haste they muster, then flash wings, 
Sharpen their pointed beaks and knit their thews, 
And round the king, even to his royal tent, 

75-9^ GEORGIC IV. 97 

Throng rallying, and with shouts defy the foe. 

So, when a dry spring and clear space is given. 

Forth from the gates they burst, they clash on high ; 

A din arises ; they are heaped and rolled 

Into one mighty mass, and headlong fall, 

Not denselier hail through heaven, nor pelting so 

Rains from the shaken oak its acorn-shower. 

Conspicuous by their wings the chiefs themselves 

Press through the heart of battle, and display 

A giant's spirit in each pigmy frame, 

Steadfast no inch to yield till these or those 

The victor's ponderous arm has turned to flight . 

Such fiery passions and such fierce assaults 

A little sprinkled dust controls and quells. 

And now, both leaders from the field recalled. 

Who hath the worser seeming, do to death, 

Lest royal waste wax burdensome, but let 

His better lord it on the empty throne. 

One with gold-burnished flakes will shine like fire, 

For twofold are their kinds, the nobler he, 

Of peerless front and lit with flashing scales ; 

That other, from neglect and squalor foul, 

Drags slow a cumbrous belly. As with kings. 

So too with people, diverse is their mould. 

Some rough and loathly, as when the wayfarer h 

98 GEORGIC IV. 96-115 

Scapes from a whirl of dust, and scorched with heat 
Spits forth the dry grit from his parched mouth : 
The others shine forth and flash with lightning-gleam. 
Their backs all blazoned with bright drops of gold 
Symmetric : this the likelier breed ; from these. 
When heaven brings round the season, thou shalt strain 
Sweet honey, nor yet so sweet as passing clear. 
And mellowing on the tongue the wine-god*s fire. 

But when the swarms fly aimlessly abroad, 
Disport themselves in heaven and spurn their cells. 
Leaving the hive unwarmed, from such vain play 
You must refrain their volatile desires. 
Nor hard the task : tear off the monarch's wings ; 
While these prove loiterers, none beside will dare 
Mount heaven, or pluck the standards from the camp. 
Let gardens with the breath of saffron flowers 
Allure them, and the lord of Hellespont, 
Priapus, wielder of the willow-scythe, 
Safe in his keeping hold from birds and thieves. 
And let the man to whom such cares are dear 
Himself bring thyme and pine-trees from the heights. 
And strew them in broad belts about their home ; 
No hand but his the blistering task should ply, 
Plant the young slips, or shed the genial showers. 

And I myself, were I not even now 

1 1 5- 1 33 GEORGIC IV. 99 

Furling my sails, and, nigh the journey's end. 

Eager to turn my vessel's prow to shore, 

Perchance would sing what careful husbandry 

Makes the trim garden smile, of Paestum too. 

Whose roses bloom and fade and bloom again ; 

How endives glory in the streams they drink, 

And green banks in their parsley, and how the gourd 

Twists through the grass and rounds him to a paunch ; 

Nor of Narcissus had my lips been dumb, 

That loiterer of the flowers, nor supple-stemmed 

Acanthus, with the praise of ivies pale. 

And myrtles clinging to the shores they love. 

For *neath the shade of tall (Ebalia's towers, 

Where dark Galaesus laves the yellowing fields, 

An old man once I mind me to have seen — 

From Corycus he came, — to whom had fallen 

Some few poor acres of neglected land. 

And they nor fruitful 'neath the plodding steer. 

Meet for the grazing herd, nor good for vines. 

Yet he, the while his meagre garden-herbs 

Among the thorns he planted, and all round 

White lilies, vervains, and lean poppy set, 

In pride of spirit matched the wealth of kings. 

And home returning not till night ^as late, 

With unbought plenty heaped his board on high. 


loo GEORGIC IV, 134-152 

He was the first to cull the rose in spring. 
He the ripe fruits in autumn ; and ere jet 
Winter had ceased in sullen ire to rive 
The rocks with frost, and with her icy bit 
Curb in the running waters, there was he 
Plucking the rathe faint hyacinth, while he chid 
Summer's slow footsteps and the lagging West. 
Therefore he too with earliest brooding bees 
And their full swarms overflowed, and first was he 
To press the bubbling honey from the comb ; 
Lime-trees were his, and many a branching pine ; 
And all the fruits wherewith in early bloom 
The orchard-tree had clothed her, in full tale 
Hung there, by mellowing autumn perfected. 
He too transplanted tall-grown elms arow. 
Time-toughened pear, thorns bursting with the plum. 
And plane now yielding serviceable shade 
For dry lips to drink under : but these things, 
Shut off by rigorous limits, I pass by. 
And leave for others to sing after me. 

Come, then, I will unfold the natural powers 
Great Jove himself upon the bees bestowed. 
The boon for which, led by the shrill sweet strains 
Of the Curetes and their clashing brass. 
They fed the king of heaven in Dicte*s cave. 

153-170 GEORGIC IV. loi 

Alone of all things they receive and hold 
Community of offspring, and they house 
Together in one city, and beneath 
The shelter of majestic laws they live ; 
And they alone fixed home and country know. 
And in the summer, warned of coming cold. 
Make proof of toil, and for the general store 
Hoard up their gathered harvesting. For some 
Watch o'er the victualling of the hive, and these 
By settled order ply their tasks afield ; 
And some within the confines of their home 
Plant firm the comb's first layer. Narcissus* tear. 
And sticky gum oozed from the bark of trees, 
Then set the clinging wax to hang therefrom. 
Others the while lead forth the full-grown young. 
Their country's hope, and others press and pack 
The thrice repur^d honey, and stretch their cells 
To bursting with the clear- strained nectar sweet. 
Some, too, the wardship of the gates befalls. 
Who watch in turn for showers and cloudy skies, 
Or ease returning labourers of their load. 
Or form a band and from their precincts drive 
The drones, a lazy herd. How glows the work ! 
How sweet the honey smells of perfumed thyme ! 
Like the Cyclopes, when in haste they forge 

I02 GEORGIC IV. 170-188 

From the slow-pelding ore the thunderbolts. 

Some from the bull's-hide bellows in and out 

Let the blasts drive, some dip i* the water-trough 

The sputtering metal : with the anvil's weight 

Groans Etna : thev altematelv in time 

With giant strength uplift their sinewy arms, 

Or twist the iron with the forceps' grip — 

Not otherwise, to measure small with great. 

The love of getting planted in their breasts 

Goads on the bees, that haunt old Cecrops' heights, 

Each in his sphere to labour. The old have charge 

To keep the town, and build the wallfed combs. 

And mould the cunning chambers ; but the youth. 

Their tired legs packed with thyme, come labouring 

Belated, for afar they range to feed 
On arbutes and the gray-green willow-leaves, 
And cassia and the crocus blushing red. 
Glue-yielding limes, and hyacinths dusky-eyed. 
One hour for rest have all, and one for toil : 
With dawn they hurry from the gates — no room 
For loiterers there : and once again, when even 
Now bids them quit their pasturing on the plain. 
Then homeward make they, then refresh their strength : 
A hum arises : hark ! they buzz and buzz 

i88-2o8 GEORGIC IV. 103 

About the doors and threshold ; till at length 

Safe laid to rest they hush them for the night, 

And welcome slumber laps their weary limbs. 

But from the homstead not too far they fare, 

When showers hang like to fall, nor, east winds nigh. 

Confide in heaven, but *neath the city walls 

Safe-circling fetch them water, or essay 

Brief out-goings, and oft weigh-up tiny stones. 

As light craft ballast in the tossing tide. 

Wherewith they poise them through the cloudy vast. 

This law of life, too, by the bees obeyed, 

W^ill move thy wonder, that nor sex with sex 

Yoke they in marriage, nor yield their limbs to love. 

Nor know the pangs of labour, but alone 

From leaves and honied herbs, the mothers, each, 

Gather their offspring in their mouths, alone 

Supply new kings and pigmy commonwealth. 

And their old court and waxen realm repair. 

Oft, too, while wandering, against jagged stones 

Their wings they fray, and *neath the burden yield 

Their liberal lives : so deep their love of flowers. 

So glorious deem they honey*s proud acquist. 

Therefore, though each a life of narrow span. 

Ne'er stretched to summers more than seven, befalls,. 

Yet deathless doth the race endure, and still 

104 GEORGIC IV. 208-227 

Perennial stands the fortune of their line, 

From grandsire unto grandsire backward told. 

Moreover, not JEgypius, nor the realm 

Of boundless Lydia, no, nor Parthia*s hordes. 

Nor Median Hydaspes, to their king 

Do such obeisance : lives the king unscathed. 

One will inspires the million : is he dead, 

Snapt is the bond of fealty ; they themselves 

Ravage their toil-wrought honey, and rend amain 

Their own comb's waxen trellis. He is the lord 

Of all their labour ; him with awful eye 

They reverence, and with murmuring throngs surround, 

In crowds attend, oft shoulder him on high. 

Or with their bodies shield him in the fight, 

And seek through showering wounds a glorious death. 

Led by these tokens, and with such traits to guide. 
Some say that unto bees a share is given 
Of the divine intelligence, and to drink 
Pure draughts of ether ; for God permeates all — 
Earth, and wide ocean, and the vault of heaven — 
From whom flocks, herds, men, beasts of every kind, 
Draw each at birth the fine essential flame ; 
Yea, and to him, that all things hence return. 
Brought back by dissolution, nor can death 
Find place : but, each into his starry rank. 

227-245 GEORGIC IV. 105 

Alive they soar, and mount the heights of heaven. 
If now their narrow home thou wouldst unseal, 
And broach the treasures of the honey-house, 
With draught of water first foment thy lips, 
And spread before thee fumes of trailing smoke. 
Twice is the teeming produce gathered in, 
Twofold their time of harvest year by year, 
Once when Taygete the Pleiad uplifts 
Her comely forehead for the earth to see, 
With foot of scorn spurning the ocean-streams, 
Once when in gloom she flies the watery Fish, 
And dips from heaven into the wintry wave. 
Unbounded then their wrath ; if hurt, they breathe 
Venom into their bite, cleave to the veins 
And let the sting lie buried, and leave their lives 
Behind them in the wound. But if you dread 
Too rigorous a winter, and would fain 
Temper the coming time, and their bruised hearts 
And broken estate to pity move your soul, 
Yet who would fear to fumigate with thyme. 
Or cut the empty wax away ? for oft 
Into their comb the newt has gnawed unseen. 
And the light-loathing beetles crammed their bed. 
And he that sits at others' board to feast. 
The do-naught drone ; or 'gainst the unequal foe 

io6 GEORGIC IV. 245-266 

Swoops the fierce hornet, or the moth's fell tribe ; 
Or spider, victim of Minerva's spite. 
Athwart the doorway hangs her swaying net. 
The more impoverished they, the keenlier all 
To mend the fallen fortunes of their race 
Will nerve them, fill the cells up, tier on tier. 
And weave their granaries from the rifled flowers. 

Now, seeing that life doth e'en to bee-folk bring 
Our human chances, if in dire disease 
Their bodies' strength should languish — which anon 
By no uncertain tokens may be told — 
Forthwith the sick change hue ; grim leanness mars 
Their visage ; then from out the cells they bear 
Forms reft of light, and lead the mournful pomp ; 
Or foot to foot about the porch they hang, 
Or within closed doors loiter, listless all 
From famine, and benumbed with shrivelling cold. 
Then is a deep note heard, a long-drawn hum^ 
As when the chill South through the forests sighs. 
As when the troubled ocean hoarsely booms 
With back-swung billow, as ravening tide of fire 
Surges, shut fast within the furnace-walls. 
Then will I bid burn scented galbanum, 
And, honey-streams through reeden troughs instilled. 
Challenge and cheer their flagging appetite 

266-287 GEORGIC IV, 107 

To taste the well-known food ; and it shall boot 
To mix therewith the savour bruised from gall, 
And rose-leaves dried, or must to thickness boiled 
By a fierce fire, or juice of raisin-grapes 
From Psithian vine, and with its bitter smell 
Centaury, and the famed Cecropian thyme. 
Then there's a meadow-flower, by country folk 
Hight star-wort ; 'tis a plant not far to seek ; 
For from one sod an ample growth it rears. 
Itself all golden, but girt with plenteous leaves, 
Where glory of purple shines through violet gloom. 
With chaplets woven hereof full oft are decked 
Heaven's altars : harsh its taste upon the tongue ; 
Shepherds in vales smooth-shorn of nibbling flocks 
By Mella's windin.e waters gather it. 
The roots of this, well seathed in fragrant wine, 
Set in brimmed baskets at their doors for food. 
But if one's whole stock fail him at a stroke. 
Nor hath he whence to breed the race anew, 
*Tis time the wondrous secret to disclose 
Taught by the swain of Arcady, e'en how 
The blood of slaughtered bullocks oft has borne 
Bees from corruption. I will trace me back 
To its prime source the story's tangled thread, 
And thence unravel. For where thy happy folk, 

io8 GEORGIC IV. 287-307 

Canopus, city of Pellaean fame, 

Dwell by the Nile's lagoon-like overflow, 

And high o'er furrows they have called their own 

Skim in their painted wherries ; where, hard by, 

The quivered Persian presses, and that flood 

Which from the swart-skinned CEthiop bears him down, 

Swift-parted into sevenfold branching mouths 

With black mud fattens and makes /Egypt green, 

That whole domain its welfare's hope secure 

Rests on this art alone. And first is chosen 

A strait recess, cramped closer to this end. 

Which next with narrow roof of tiles atop 

'Twixt prisoning walls they pinch, and add hereto 

From the four winds four slanting window-slits. 

Then seek they from the herd a steer, whose horns 

With two years' growth are curling, and stop fast. 

Plunge madly as he may, the panting mouth 

And nostrils twain, and done with blows to death. 

Batter his flesh to pulp i' the hide yet whole. 

And shut the doors, and leave him there to lie. 

But 'neath his ribs they scatter broken boughs, 

With thyme and fresh-pulled cassias : this is done 

When first the west winds bid the waters flow, 

Ere flush the meadows with new tints, and ere 

The twittering swallow buildeth from the beams. 

308.327 GEORGIC IV. 109 

Meanwhile the juice within his softened bones 
Heats and ferments, and things of wondrous birth, 
Footless at first, anon with feet and wings. 
Swarm there and buzz, a marvel to behold ; 
And more and more the fleeting breeze they take, 
Till, like a shower that pours from summer-clouds, 
Forth burst they, or like shafts from quivering strings 
When Parthia's flying hosts provoke the fray. 

Say what was he, what God, that fashioned forth 
This art for us, O Muses ? of man's skill 

Whence came the new adventure ? From thy vale, 
Peneian Tempe, turning, bee-bereft, 
So runs the tale, by famine and disease. 
Mournful the shepherd Aristaeus stood 
Fast by the haunted river-head, and thus 
With many a plaint to her that bare him cried : 
** Mother, Cyrene, mother, who hast thy home 
Beneath this whirling flood, if he thou sayest, 
Apollo, lord of Thymbra, be my sire. 
Sprung from the Gods' high line, why barest thou me 
With fortune's ban for birthright ? Where is now 
Thy love to me- ward banished from thy breast ? 
O I wherefore didst thou bid me hope for heaven ? 
Lo ! even the crown of this poor mortal life, 
Which all my skilful care by field and fold, 

no GEORGIC IV. 328.347 

No art neglected, scarce had fashioned forth, 

Even this falls from me, yet thou calFst me son. 

Nay, then, arise ! With thine own hands pluck up 

My fruit-plantations : on the homestead fling 

Pitiless fire ; make havoc of my crops ; 

Burn the young plants, and wield the heaved axe 

Against my vines, if there hath taken thee - 

Such loathing of my greatness." But that cry, 

E*en from her chamber in the river-deeps, 

His mother heard : around her spun the nymphs 

Milesian wool stained through with hyaline dye, 

Drymo, Xantho, Ligea, Phyllodoce, 

Their glossy locks o'er snowy shoulders shed, 

Cydippe and Lycorias yellow-haired, 

A maiden one, one newly learned e'en then 

To bear Lucina's birth-pang. Clio, too, 

And Beroe, sisters, ocean-children both. 

Both zoned with gold and girt with dappled fell, 

Ephyre and Opis, and from Asian meads 

Deiopea, and, bow at length laid by, 

Fleet-footed Arethuse. But in their midst 

Fair Clymene was telling o'er the tale . " 

Of Vulcan's idle vigilance and the stealth 

Of Mars' sweet rapine, and from Chaos old 

Counted the jostling love-joys of the Gods. 

348-365 GEORGIC IV. Ill 

Charmed by whose lay, the while their woolly tasks 

'With spindles down they drew, yet once again 

Smote on his mother's ears the mournful plaint 

Of Aristaeus ; on their glassy thrones 

Amazement held them all ; but Arethuse 

Before the rest put forth her auburn head, 

Peering abovathe wave-top, and from far 

Exclaimed, ** Cyrene, sister, not for naught 

Scared by a groan so deep ; behold ! 'tis he, 

Even Aristaeus, thy heart's fondest care, 

Here by the brink of the Peneian sire 

Stands woebegone and weeping, and by name 

Cries out upon thee for thy cruelty." 

To whom, strange terrdr knocking at her heart, 

" Bring, bring him to our sight,'* the mother cried ; 

** His feet may tread the threshold even of Gods." 

So saying, she bids the flood yawn wide and yield 

A pathway for his footsteps ; but the wave 

Arched mountain-wise closed round him, and within 

Its mighty bosom welcomed, and let speed 

To the deep river-bed. And now, with eyes 

Of wonder gazing on his mother's hall 

And watery kingdom and cave-prisoned pools 

And echoing groves, he went, and, stunned by that 

Stupendous whirl of waters, separate saw 

112 GEORGIC IV. 366-387 

All streams beneath the mighty earth that glide, 

Phasis and Lycus, and that fountain-head 

Whence first the deep Enipeus leaps to light, 

Whence father Tiber, and whence Anio's flood, 

And Hypanis that roars amid his rocks. 

And Mysian Caicus, and, bull-browed 

'Twixt either gilded horn, Eridanus, 

Than whom none other through the laughing plains 

More furious pours into the purple sea. 

Soon as the chamber's hanging roof of stone 

Was gained, and now Cyrene from her son 

Had heard his idle weeping, in due course 

Clear water for his hands the sisters bring. 

With napkins of shorn pile, while others heap 

The board with dainties, and set on afresh 

The brimming goblets ; with Panchaian fires 

Upleap the altars ; then the mother spake, 

** Take beakers of Maeonian wine," she said, 

** Pour we to Ocean." Ocean, sire of all. 

She worships, and the sister-nymphs who guard 

The hundred forests and the hundred streams ; 

Th.rice Vesta's fire with nectar clear she dashed. 

Thrice to the roof-top shot the flame and shone : 

Armed with which omen she essayed to speak : 

** In Neptune's gulf Carpathian dwells a seer. 

388-407 GEORGIC IV, 113 

Caerulean Proteus, he who metes the main 

With fish-drawn chariot of two-footed steeds ; 

Now visits he his native home once more, 

Pallene and the Emathian ports ; to him 

We nymphs do reverence, ay and Nereus old ; 

For all things knows the seer, both those which are 

And have been, and which time hath yet to bring ; 

So willed it Neptune, whose portentous flocks 

And loathly sea-calves 'neath the surge he feeds. 

Him first, my son, behoves thee seize and bind. 

That he may all the cause of sickness show, 

And grant a prosperous end. For save by force 

No rede will he vouchsafe, nor shalt thou bend 

His soul by praying ; whom once made captive, ply 

With rigorous force and fetters ; against these 

His wiles will break and spend themselves in vain. 

I, when the sun has lit his noontide fires, 

When the blades thirst, and cattle love the shade, 

Myself will guide thee to the old man's haunt. 

Whither he hies him weary from the waves, 

That thou mayst safelier steal upon his sleep. 

But when thou hast gripped him fast with hand and 

Then divers forms and bestial semblances 

Shall mock thy grasp ; for sudden he will change 

114 GEORGIC IV. 407-427 

To bristly boar, fell tigress, dragon scaled, 
And tawny-tufted lioness, or send forth 
A crackling sound of fire, and so shake off 
The fetters, or in showery drops anon 
Dissolve and vanish. But the more he shifts 
His endless transformations, thou, my son. 
More straitlier clench the clinging bands, until 
His body's shape return to that thou sawest, 
When with closed eyelids first he sank to sleep." 

So saying, an odour of ambrosial dew 
She sheds around, and all his frame therewith 
Steeps throughly ; from his combed locks arow 
Breathed effluence sweet, and a lithe vigour leapt 
Into his limbs. There is a cavern vast 
Scooped in the mountain-side, where wave on wave 
By the wind's stress is driven, and breaks far up 
Its inmost creeks — safe anchorage from of old 
For tempest-taken mariners : therewithin. 
Behind a rock's huge barrier, Proteus hides. 
Here in close covert out of the sun's eye 
The youth she places, and herself the while 
Swathed in a shadowy mist stands far aloof. 
And now the ravening dog- star that burns up 
The thirsty Indians blazed in heaven ; his course 
The fiery sun had half devoured : the blades 

427-447 GEORGIC IV. 115 

Were parched, and the void streams with droughty jaws 
Baked to their mud-beds by the scorching ray, 
When Proteus seeking his accustomed cave 
Strode from the billows : round him frolicking 
The watery folk that people the waste sea 
Sprinkled the bitter brine-dew far and wide. 
Along the shore in scattered groups to feed 
The searcalves stretch them : while the seer himself, 
Like herdsman on the hills when evening bids 
The steers from pasture to their stall repair, 
And the lambs* bleating whets the listening wolves, 
Sits midmost on the rock and tells his tale. 
But Aristaeus. the foe within his clutch, 
Scarce suffering him compose his aged limbs. 
With a great cry leapt on him, and ere he rose 
Forestalled him with the fetters ; he natheless. 
All unforgetful of his ancient craft, 
Transforms himself to every wondrous thing, 
Fire and a fearful beast, and flowing stream. 
But when no trickery found a path for flight. 
Baffled at length, to his own shape returned. 
With human lips he spake, ** Who bade thee, then. 
So reckless in youth's hardihood, affront 
Our portals ? or what wouldst thou hence ? " — But he, 
** Proteus, thou knowest, of thine own heart thou 
knowest ; 

ii6 GEORGIC IV. 447-464 

For thee there is no cheating, but cease thou 
To practise upon me : at heaven's behest 
1 for my fainting fortunes hither come 
An oracle to ask thee." There he ceased. 
Whereat the seer, by stubborn force constrained, 
Shot forth the gray light of his gleaming eyes 
Upon him, and with fiercely gnashing teeth 
Unlocks his lips to spell the fates of heaven : 

" Doubt not 'tis wrath divine that plagues thee thus, 
Nor light the debt thou payest ; 'tis Orpheus' self, 
Orpheus unhappy by no fault of his, 
So fates prevent not, fans thy penal fires, 
Yet madly raging for his ravished bride. 
She in her haste to shun thy hot pursuit 
Along the stream, saw not the coming death. 
Where at her feet kept ward upon the bank 
In the tall grass a monstrous water-snake. 
But with their cries the Dryad-band her peers 
Filled lip the mountains to their proudest peaks : 
Wailed for her fate the heights of Rhodope, 
And tall Pangaea, and, beloved of Mars, 
The land that bowed to Rhesus, Thrace no less 
With Hebrus' stream ; and Orithyia wept. 
Daughter of Acte old. But Orpheus' self, 
Soothing his love-pain with the hollow shell. 

465-484 GEORGIC IV. 117 

Thee his sweet wife on the lone shore alone. 

Thee when day dawned and when it died he sang. 

Nay to the jaws of Taenarus too he came, 

Of Dis the infernal palace, and the grove 

Grim with a horror of great darkness — came, 

Entered, and faced the Manes and the King 

Of terrors, the stone heart no prayer can tame. 

Then from the deepest deeps of Erebus, 

Wrung by his minstrelsy, the hollow shades 

Came trooping, ghostly semblances of forms 

Lost to the light, as birds by myriads hie 

To greenwood boughs for cover, when twilight-hour 

Or storms of winter chase them from the hills ; 

Matrons and men, and great heroic frames 

Done with life's service, boys, unwedded girls, 

Youths placed on pyre before their fathers' eyes. 

Round them, with black slime choked and hideous weed, 

Cocytus winds ; there lies the unlovely swamp 

Of dull dead water, and, to pen them fast, 

Styx with her ninefold barrier poured between. 

Nay, even the deep Tartarean Halls of death 

Stood lost in wonderment, the Eumenides, 

Their brows with livid locks of serpents twined ; 

E'en Cerberus held his triple jaws agape. 

And, the wind hushed, Ixion's wheel stood still. 

ii8 GEORGIC IV. 485-502 

And now with homeward footstep he had passed 
All perils scathless, and, at length restored, 
Eiirydice to realms of upper air 
Had well-nigh won, behind him following — 
So Proserpine had ruled it — when his heart 
A sudden mad desire surprised and seized — 
Meet fault to be forgiven, might Hell forgive. 
For at the very threshold of the day. 
Heedless, alas ! and vanquished of resolve, 
He stopped, turned, looked upon Eurydice 
His own once more. But even with the look, 
Poured out was all his labour, broken the bond 
Of that fell tyrant, and a crash was heard 
Three times like thunder in the meres of hell. 
" Orpheus ! what ruin hath thy frenzy wrought 
On me, alas! and thee ? Lo ! once again 
The unpitying fates recall me, and dark sleep 
Closes my swimming eyes. And now farewell : 
Girt with enormous night I am borne away, 
Outstretching toward thee, thine, alas ! no more, 
These helpless hands." She spake, and suddenly. 
Like smoke dissolving into empty air. 
Passed and was sundered from his sight ; nor him 
Clutching vain shadows, yearning sore to speak. 
Thenceforth beheld she, nor no second time 

502-522 GEORGIC IV. 119 

Heirs boatman lists he pass the watery bar. 
What should he do ? fly whither, twice bereaved ? 
Move with what tears the Manes, with what voice 
The Powers of darkness ? She indeed e'en now 
Death-cold was floating on the Stygian barge I 
For seven whole months unceasingly, men say. 
Beneath a skyey crag, by thy lone wave, 
Strymon, he wept, and in the caverns chill 
Unrolled his story, melting tigers' hearts. 
And leading with his lay the oaks along. 
As in the poplar-shade a nightingale 
Mourns her lost young, which some relentless swain, 
Spyingt from the nest has torn unfledged, but she 
Wails the long night, and perched upon a spray 
With sad insistence pipes her dolorous strain. 
Till all the region with her wrongs overflows. 
No love, no new desire, constrained his soul : 
By snow-bound Tanais and the icy north, 
Far steppes to frost Rhipaean for ever wed, 
Alone he wandered, lost Eurydice 
Lamenting, and the gifts of Dis ungiven. 
Scorned by which tribute the Ciconian dames. 
Amid their awful Bacchanalian rites 
And midnight revellings, tore him limb from limb. 
And strewed his fragments over the wide fields. 

lao GEORGIC IV. 523-542 

Then too, e'en then, what time the Hebras stream, 
CEagrian Hebrus, down mid-current rolled, 
Rent from the marble neck, his drifting head. 
The death-chilled tongue found yet a voice to cry 
** Eurydice ! ah ! poor Eurydice ! " 
With parting breath he called her, and the banks 
From the broad stream caught up *• Eurydice ! '* 

So Proteus ending plunged into the deep, 
And, where he plunged, beneath the eddying whirl 
Churned into foam the water, and was gone ; 
But not Cyrene, who unquestioned thus 
Bespake the trembling listener : ** Nay, my son. 
From that sad bosom thou mayst banish care : , 

Hence came that plague of sickness, hence the nymphs. 
With whom in the tall woods the dance she wove. 
Wrought on thy bees, alas ! this deadly bane. 
Bend thou before the Dell-nymphs, gracious powers : 
Bring gifts, and sue for pardon : they will grant 
Peace to thine asking, and an end of wrath. 
But how to approach them I will first unfold — 
Four chosen bulls of peerless form and bulk, 
That browse to-day the green Lycaean heights, 
Pick from thy herds, as many kine to match, 
Whose necks the yoke pressed never : then for these 
Build up four altars by the lofty fanes. 

542-560 GEORGIC IV. 121 

And from their throats let gush the victims' blood, 
And in the greenwood leave their bodies lone. 
Then, when the ninth dawn hath displayed its beams, 
To Orpheus shalt thou send his funeral dues, 
Poppies of Lethe, and let slay a sheep 
Coal-black, then seek the grove again, and soon 
For pardon found adore Eurydice 
With a slain calf for victim.*' 

No delay : 
The self-same hour he hies him forth to do 
His mother's bidding : to the shrine he came, 
The appointed altars reared, and thither led 
Four chosen bulls of peerless form and bulk, 
With kine to match, that never yoke had known ; 
Then, when the ninth dawn had led in the day, 
To Orpheus sent his funeral dues, and sought 
The grove once more. But sudden, strange to tell I 
A portent they espy : through the oxen's flesh. 
Waxed soft in dissolution, hark ! there hum 
Bees from the belly ; the rent ribs overboil ! 
In endless clouds they spread them, till at last 
On yon tree-top together fused they cling, 
And drop their cluster from the l>ending boughs. 

So sang I of the tilth of furrowed fieldff, 
Of flocks and trees, while Caesar's majesty 

1^2 GEORGIC IV. 560-566 

Launches the levin-bolts of war by deep 

Euphrates, and presides o'er willing folk 

Though vanquished, and essays the heights of heaven. 

I Vergil then, of sweet Parthenope 

The nursling, woo'd the flowery walks of peace 

Inglorious, who erst trilled for shepherd- wights 

The wanton ditty, and sang in saucy youth 

Thee, Tityrus, 'neath the beech tree's spreading-shade. 

sawtell's printing works, shfrborne. 


" Mr. Rhoades has accomplished his task with great success. It is 
quite surprising to any one, who does not know how much may be done 
by unwearied and unstinted labour, to see how fidelity has been combined 
with grace of expression and melody of verse in this translation." — Pall 
Mall Gazette. 

*' It is to be hoped that this may not be Mr. Rhoades* last effort of 
the kind — meanwhile he is to be congratulated on the way in which he 
has acquitted himself of one of the most ambitious undertakings in the 
whole range of Classical translations."— Sa^wrrfay Review. 

" This is a book which we have read — or, rather studied, for it 
deserves and repays study — with pleasure and satisfaction ; and which will, 
we believe, be read and studied by many with the same feeling. The 
translation is accurate, and in close keeping with both the spirit and the 
language of the original ; and the verse is flowing, melodious, and markedly 
free from the painful constraint and dislocation of English idioms, which 
so often spoil a would-be literal rendering.'* — Spectator. 

" We have read with pure enjoyment Mr. Rhoades' flowing, graceful 
verses, and found familiar difficulties rendered neatly, featly, and com- 
pletely — there are many passages of well-known difficulty to translators, 
to which we have turned in Mr. Rhoades', to find them usually not only 
rendered, but mastered, their difficulties grasped, and spirit and language 
alike reproduced— educationally we think this book will be useful in several 
ways ; it should be a great help to masters who are working the Georgics 
with higher forms, and to such students of Virgil as University Under- 
graduates it will save time it getting up old work as effectually as the 
world-famed Bohn, or Globe-famed Lee and Lonsdale, and will, moreover, 
educate instead of vitiating their taste." — Journal of Education. 

"The translator is always neat and scholarly, and the author's vocab- 
ulary full and poetical." — Athenceum. 

** Such passages breathe a classic atmosphere and suggest a lively 
appreciation of Virgil's courtly cultured muse." — Academy. 

" We have no hesitation in saying that though Mr. Rhoades' did not 
write The Georgics^ his translation of them into English blank verse 
entitles him to a high rank among poets." — I'imea of India. 

"All Virgil's smoothness and continuity are retained in a language 
differing wholly from that in which Virgil wrote : for Mr. Rhoades employs 
few Latinisms — the consequence is that we have before us a true pastoral, 
classic in its ideas and homely in its speech." — Baili/ Telegraph. 

London : 
Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., Paterhost^^ ^q^s^^s 

Charing Choss "B^oKVi. 

By the Same Author. 

Macmillan & Co., 1870. Kegan Paul & Co., 1880. 

'•If any one will read Mr. Rhoades* poetry, he will soon see that 
there is a great deal in it to admire — much sweetness— much grace — a good 

deal of fine thought finely expressed in melodious verse It is difficult 

to particularise any of the poems ; all of them have a quiet beauty of 

their own The sonnets are often rich in thought and beautiful 

in expression Mr. Rhoades concludes his volume with a dialogue 

between Lady Jane Grey and Feckenham, a Catholic Priest. It is 
managed with much skill, and conducted on Lady Jane Grey's side with 
great force and power.''— Edinburgh Courant, Feb, 2, 1871. 

" Mr. Rhoades has evidently lived and worked in the best atmos- 
phere of poetical influences We would direct particular attention 

to some of the sonnets, many of which have a subtle and delicate beauty, 
and a nearness to nature that are refreshing." — Olmgow Herald j July 26, 

"The author of these poems has high and noble thoughts, 

loves nature, takes broad views of men and things, has a fine ear for music, 
knowledge, culture, a rare wealth of language, and that which comple- 
ments all these gifts and acquirements — poetic inspiration. Not being 
sensational, he will not be so popular as some poets, but he must command 
respect, and will, I believe, win his way to a high place among the poets." 
Hertfordshire Mercury, July, 1870. 

TIMOLEON : A Dramatic Poem. 

" Mr. Rhoades* * Timoleon * is certainly entitled to a place apart from 

the ordinary poetry of the day His blank verse is clear, dignified, 

and manly, and its tone is well sustained throughout."— 5a<t«rrfa'y Revieto. 

" The success which has been attained in * Timoleon,* a dramatic poem 
by James Rhoades, fairly warrants us in assuming that should there ever 

again be an opening for a good dramatist, he will not be wanting 

The poem abounds in beauties, and deserves to be studied by all admirers 
of the poetic drama. We are by no means sure that a fine actor might 
not make it effective even on the stage.** — Graphic. 


Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1887. 

" Contains much beautiful and some noble verse.'* — Pall Mall 
Gazette, March 8, 1887. 

** Whatever may be thought of the plot of the drama, the hand of 
the artist is there, and the surety of fine poetic power.'* -^Sydney 
Morning Herald, June 4, 1887. 

*' Exhibiting a combination of elegance and strength which of itself 
would give any writer, taken as a stylist only, a claim to our consideration 

all the scene is fine for its loftiness of tone and dear penetra- 

'^tyle.''— Oxford Magazine, June 15, 1887. 

neath criticism."— Era, Jan. 22. 1&^".